Album Review: The Kooks – Let’s Go Sunshine

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Following a 4 year hiatus, Brighton’s indie-pop heroes, The Kooks, return with their 5th studio album, Let’s Go Sunshine.

Ahhh 2005. The good old days. Pre-Brexit. Pre-Trump. Pre-Sex-On-Fire Kings Of Leon. Life was good.

That wonderful summer we spent having BBQ’s on the beach, playing keepy-uppy with a rugby ball and, at all times, soundtracked by The Kooks’ debut album Inside In/Inside Out. Opening with the suitably named ‘Seaside’ – a silky, hypnotic lullaby of a song that did little to prepare you for the fast-paced, indie-pop Eddie’s Gun’, ‘You Don’t Love Me’ and other songs that made up the rest of this classic album – it was the perfect accompaniment to that and many other summers.

Fast forward 12 years and The Kooks are once again seeking to soundtrack our summer with their latest offering, Let’s Go Sunshine – and what better way to do that, than with a typically effervescent live set on the Main Stage at Read and Leeds Festival.

The demand or their return was evident – just from looking at the swathes of fans who watched their comeback gig – so why the hiatus?

“It had to be our Rubber Soul, Lola, Definitely Maybe. Proper British lineage.”

Lead singer, Luke, says about the new album.

“It was a fractured start. We went into the studio in 2015, continuing down the path we set out on our last studio album “Listen” and discovered it wasn’t what we wanted to make and wasn’t really The Kooks. So we scrapped it and started again. I really went on a mission to write the best songs I’d ever written before bringing them to the band. I stewed over every word.”

It’s been an intense labour of love for the four-piece band and has, intentionally or otherwise, reflected Luke’s life experience during its construction.

“I came from a dark place at the start, had a lotta heartbreak, and then falling in love in the middle of the album…the lyrics reflect that.”

But that’s not to say this is a Kooks album that you wouldn’t recognise. The lead singer’s vocals remain an integral part of The Kooks’ unique sound and are on good form here; soft and melancholic in early tracks ‘All The Time’ and ‘Believe’, but raw and energetic in ‘Kids’ single-track, ‘Four Leaf Clover’.

No, it’s not 2005. The world has changed and, to an extent, so have The Kooks. But at a time when we need their upbeat indie-pop-disco more than ever, it’s great to have them back.

Let’s Go Sunshine is out now.

1. Intro
2. Kids
3. All The Time
4. Believe
5. Fractured and Dazed
6. Chicken Bone
7. Four Leaf Clover
8. Tesco Disco
9. Honey Bee
10. Initials For Gainsbourg
11. Pamela
12. Picture Frame
13. Swing Low
14. Weight of the World
15. No Pressure


Monday 3rd September – Belfast, Limelight Club
Wednesday 5th September – London, Moth Club
Saturday 8th September – Oban, The Corran Halls
Sunday 9th September – Middlesbrough, The Middlesbrough Empire
Monday 10th September – Bexhill-on-Sea, De La Warr Pavilion

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