Indie-pop-rockers The Kooks present their fourth studio album ‘Listen’, following on from the mediocre 2011 release of ‘Junk of the Heart’. ‘Listen’ sees The Kooks somewhat expanding upon their repertoire, incorporating a few more instruments here and there to present their own style in a slightly different way. Much of ‘Listen’ feels like a confusing album experience, where the various songs don’t meld together in any way, and feel instead like various genres thrown into one album package just for the sake of it. There’s one or two interesting songs on ‘Listen’, but much of the album feels like an absolute failure of an album.
In fairness to The Kooks, the band seem to be trying a few new ideas, mostly in the form of incorporating synth-pop elements to probably appeal to the current generation of popular-music fans. Even with these new techniques, The Kooks manage to present their new songs in the same familiar formats and styles as their old album experiences, giving their listeners a mixture of new techniques with a feeling of familiarity. There’s one or two interesting songs which at their best feel fun, which seems to be one of the things The Kooks do rather well as a band. Sadly, the whole album experience falls incredibly flat as it progresses along its muddled path.
It feels like for the most part that The Kooks aren’t really sure of who they’re trying to be anymore. Are they trying to recreate their music into something new, or are they trying to continue along the same lines as they’ve always done? The whole album effort feels incredibly muddled and frustrating. A lot of the songs simply aren’t any good, being worse than filler-material, and thus giving the album even more of a pointless element to it. ‘Listen’ is a tiresome album trying hard to be an appealing album of little pop-tunes, but sadly fails at this and feels like a dull attempt on the bands’ part to pander to their audiences by doing what they think is easy. The album is titled ‘Listen’ but what exactly do The Kooks want us to listen to?
There’s very little to enjoy from ‘Listen’, which isn’t just a bad Kooks album, but a bad album in general. There’s very few appealing elements here, with everything just being weak versions of this and that, and no attempts to actually create something that will be of interest to their listeners. Musically the album is incredibly weak, with the instrumentals just sounding dull and uninteresting, whilst the accompanying lyrics are of equal poorness. It’s odd to see The Kooks falling so low, considering how enjoyable the bands’ first two album efforts were. Perhaps The Kooks just don’t have anything else left to offer.
- ★★☆☆☆ 2/5
- It Was London
- Bad Habit
- Sweet Emotion
The Kooks’ latest album ‘Listen’ is out now.