by Camilo Oswald
Photo credit: Daily Trojan.
Whether you’re an indie fiend or a chart-pop basic bitch, few millennials can call themselves so and pretend not to have listened to, heard of, or most likely adored The Kooks during the heyday of noughties indie rock. And even now, songs like Naïve had the rare quality of being likely heard out of any teenager’s bedroom equally as being sung on a lad’s night out by men who’s fashion taste you certainly wouldn’t associate with Luke Prichard.
Within indie circles, they’ve somewhat become a guilty pleasure: guilty for having firmly straddled indie and mainstream, which is considered sacrilege, and moreover for perpetually singing teen songs about good girls falling from grace ad infinitum, like a Britpop for the new millennium. That being said, the pleasure of nostalgia whenever and wherever a Kooks song gets played is hard to deny; I’ve certainly found myself in many a dark corner of Cavern getting hipsters to admit they bloody loved them. From big hitters such as Ooh La to acoustic fan favourites such as Seaside, their debut album was a masterclass in solid, youthful songwriting, marrying melodic nous with garage rock and even elements of ska.
Last month, they released new single Be Who You Are to go alongside the release of their first Best Of compilation, and it’s fittingly an unashamedly noughties singalong. Luke Prichard’s voice really hasn’t developed in 10 years, to the glee of some and the disenchantment of others; but after the shiny production of their last album ‘Listen’, this latest effort harks back to the base roots of their brand of brazenly British guitar-driven stomp.
It is appropriate even in title, as in the music video they seem to embrace their near-comical perception of the noughties band that never grows up. Fortunately for them, they made such as splash back in the day they don’t even need a new release for their legions of fans around the world to flock to their shows. But I do admit this latest revamp makes me a tad giddy to skip along the highstreet in Chelsea boots and skinny jeans, so dive headfirst into their back catalogue again and head straight to a show. Catch them in Bristol and Plymouth on May 2nd and 5th respectively.