It's too early to count them out, but they'll need to try harder with album number...
Kate Sharp 2008
After selling two million copies of the marvellous Inside In, Inside Out, indie poster boys, The Kooks, seem to have succumbed to the curse which has plagued so many musicians. Enjoying huge success and critical acclaim with their debut and becoming festival heroes with their summery anthems, there seemed no end to the band's reign of the hearts of a nation. Well, not until now at least. Yes folks, it may be a cliche, but the Kooks have fallen foul of second album syndrome.
Konk isn't imbued with the sunshiny, carefree sound that its predecessor was infused with. Only the single, Always Where I Need To Be, has the band's signature effervescent quality and bounce about it. The album seems, on the whole, a little contrived with the recycling of old guitar lines and intros. It's almost as if they've said: 'Right, people liked this hook, this line, this intro; let's try and use it again'. To call Konk the sound of complacency is too cruel, but it is the sound of a band who don't seem as enthused and as ready to impress.
There are, however, some shining moments on the album. Mr Maker is a little barnstormer of a track; peppered with hand claps and slide guitar; it is the sound of a band enjoying themselves. Stormy Weather, despite having an intro which sounds like a detuned Sofa Song, is hugely likable with its refrain of ''It feels like love, love, love''. It plods along sweetly and could be the sort of track that you might bop, albeit ironically, to at an indie disco. One Last Time is a lovely piece of balladry but loses credibility somewhat with its rhyme of: ''ABCDEF and G/Reminds me of when we were free''.
Konk is not without its accomplishments, but it lacks the drive and far more importantly, the anthemic qualities of their debut. It's too early to count them out, but they'll need to try harder with album number three.