Once upon a time, The Kooks were a hot young pop/rock band out of the U.K., all charming appeal and love songs. But young bands age, and so did their thing music on 2011’s Junk of the Heart (QRO review) – only for the group to try a bunch of new things on the following Listen (QRO review). Yet for Let’s Go Sunshine, they return to their pop/rock ways.
Not that The Kooks can’t pull off a pop song. Pieces like the drinking “Chicken Bone”, sweet sway “Four Leaf Clover”, and catchy “Initials for Gainsbourg” are definitely enjoyable, and even the weakest numbers (such as the torch-sways “Picture Frame” and “Swing Low”) are acceptable. But there’s not enough depth to the material; it rewards less & less on more spins. And, at fifteen tracks, the record definitely feels too long, wearing out its initial welcome.
The Kooks are always going to be a pop/rock band, and ideas that they might become something more were always going to remain unfulfilled. It’s easy to like them – if hard to love them.