Here’s a clip of Brighton England’s The Kooks with their most recent single “Shine On” as taken from the album Konk, so named due to the fact that they recorded it at the studio of the same name, owned as it is by one Ray Davies of the Kinks.
Every once in a while, it’s nice to be reminded that a guitar group can still be interesting, and remain to be a pop group too. In the past little while, there’s been a lot of pressure on groups like this to be ironic, or po-faced, or ‘important’. None of this has to be true, and where I’m not saying that this band and this tune is knocked-off or fluffy, what it remains to be is just enjoyable. And nothing wrong with that. That’s what pop music is supposed to be, after all.
Further to all of this, there is a fine line between wearing your influences on your sleeve, and being a pastiche band. With these guys, I get the impression that an effort to copy a sound isn’t a priority, even if a lot of 60s influence as a for-instance seems to filter through anyway. I really think that they want to put across songs. With this approach, they win. And on this tune, a 60s-flavoured pop tune that just shimmers with enthusiasm, we get this approach framed pretty nicely.
There was a time when bands made records to be played on the radio, without a huge marketing engine behind them. Rather, they wielded a talent for creating songs that were undeniable. There are all kinds of obstacles that block many bands from sticking to this approach these days. The fact that this record has gone to number one in Britain at least is a shining hope that great songs on the radio isn’t just me dreaming about the possibility.
For more information and tunes, check out the official Kooks website.