The Kooks – Ten Tracks to Echo in the Dark
Now 16 years on from their era-defining debut Inside In/Inside Out that set the bar for a generation of acoustic guitar-wielding alternative acts, the Kooks are back for their sixth studio album, Ten Tracks to Echo in the Dark, which proves to be the greatest departure from their original sound to date.
Writing and recording in Berlin with the help of German pop-duo Milky Chance, producer Tobias Kuhn and EDM artist Neikid, the Kooks have taken a European approach to their latest album, melding their iconic acoustic sound (helmed by frontman Luke Pritchard’s breezy vocals) with a tinge of continental electronica and disco beats. The album’s opener, the shimmery Connection, signals an immediate shift in style for the trailblazing Brighton band, with rolling bass lines and reverberating vocals. It’s a marked departure for the indie group, known for summery, seaside Brit anthems She Moves in Her Own Way and Always Where I Need to Be, finally embracing the disco-tinged sound that propelled the careers of so many of their American 00s counterparts (think Hockey and Foster the People). Cold Heart is Kooks à la Yeasayer, with heavy drumbeats and a swirling, synthetic sound. The twinkly Jesse James follows the same tack, with hazy, cyclical guitar lines, descending synthetic keys and a glorious 80s-themed solo from guitarist Hugh Harris.
At times, the album recalls 80s New Wave and feels like the Kooks taking on David Bowie’s Let’s Dance. Sailing on a Dream, which opens with a ska-inspired bass groove before Pritchard enters with raspy, restrained vocals, is a whirring and futuristic delight, infused with synth keys, jazzy saxophone lines and the distant bend of twangy guitar. Beautiful World, their collaboration with Milky Chance, who share vocal duties with frontman Pritchard, is an uplifting burst of indie cheer, with floaty vocals, sweeping guitar and scattered drumbeats. It’s this new iteration of the Kooks at their best.
Ten Tracks to Echo in the Dark takes the Brighton trio in an exciting new direction, and the traditionally acoustic guitar-clad indie natives embrace a European electronic sound, bringing a fresh flavour of the Kooks for a new generation.
Ten Tracks to Echo in the Dark is released on 22nd July 2022. For further information or to order the album visit The Kooks’s website here.
Watch the video for the single Beautiful World here: