The Kooks - Inside In/Inside Out

Jennifer Roberts 23/01/2006

Rating: 4/5

With a dash of acoustic rock, a sprinkling of reggae beats and a few other genres thrown in for good measure, this album is a tad long and contains a few tracks that sound like filler. But The Kooks were given a year by record company Virgin to construct this 14-track record, and such luxury seems to have given them ample opportunity for creation. Perhaps they had so many that they couldn't decide what to leave out?

Teenage trials and tribulations, mainly about girls and break-ups are the standard formula for this new band. However, just because they're young doesn't mean they're hanging on the coat-tails of boy bands. Hell no! Not even close. The lyrics are wounded and raw, with vocals ranging from the gritty 'Ooh La' to the stark and precocious 'You Don't Love Me'. The menacingly sweet 'Sofa Song' drawls over Strokes-style yelps. Poppy tunes that mix indie and rock so well, it's like they've finally buried the hatchet after a twenty year grudge.

The album has an organic feel to it; short, raucous drumming attacks the energetic guitars, while Luke Pritchard's sound has a fresh take on relationship disappointment and heart-felt paranoia. Recently released 'Eddie's Gun' is a stand out track along with emotional rollercoaster 'Naïve', which shows maturity and style beyond the current post-Libertine wave; “I'm not saying it was your fault/although you could've done more”.

Ending on the unhurried 'Got No Love', moments of anguish are blended with infused jangly guitars - it sums up this wounded, post-break up kind of an album that is a stunning debut from Brighton's young upstarts.