Junk of the Heart (2011) ★ ★ ★ 1/2
This week the Kooks' latest album has been released -it has been 3 years since the last (Konk). As one of several big 2000's bands this year releasing a long-awaited album (including RHCP and The Strokes)- I wasn't sure what to expect, if the band would stray from it's catchy songs about love, or experiment. "Junk of the Heart" isn't going to be a major album in the band's career but there are a few singles which stand out.
There is a nostalgic feel to this album, with the traditional Kooks-style songs reflecting on happy times with loved ones, and the newer, more experimental ones delving into semi-psychedelic sounds. Overall Luke Pritchard's voice sounds a little less youthful, less 'naive' and a generally more composed. The album doesn't deal with extreme emotions or sport amazing lyrics, but it seems to be the sort of album that will be enjoyable in summer, or at least should be listened to outdoors on a lazy afternoon.
Title track Junk of the Heart is an upbeat, enjoyable tune with a more electronic feel than previous Kooks numbers but not as rough as Konk. Second single Is it me has the most playful lyrics, I think, in the album: "Bring me a pig's heart and a glass of wine"..."We're both still playing with shadows in our hands."
There is a mix of slower ballads and cheerful, lively songs but the Kooks have not completely disbanded from their love of sixties tunes. Rosie is a fast-paced, old-fashioned style serenade to a girl from afar. Runaway is almost the opposite with an innovative blend of synth and vocals, moving away from their literal storytelling approach to music.
My favourite is Petulia, a quiet achiever towards the end of the album, with its Paul-McCartney-ish soft rock style and smooth vocals. This album is definitely about "junk" or tales from the heart, although most are rather agreeable.
For now, the Kooks may be overtaken by newer, more alternative bands in the British Indie scene but I'm sure that there is a band of loyal followers that will taking a liking to the new album by this bunch of sentimental Brits.