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The Kooks - 10 Tracks To Echo In The Dark (Album Review)

Monday, 01 August 2022 Written by Graeme Marsh

The Kooks found themselves entrenched in the creative hotbed of Berlin during the early part of recording for album six ’10 Tracks To Echo In The Dark’, but when the pandemic struck they were forced to retreat to the UK until further notice. Time dragged on and Luke Pritchard continued his work via Zoom, like so many others.

Pritchard is now a married father and the album has been shaped by positivity from within his own home and also the negativity going on in the outside world. With Brexit, in particular, dragging him down, he wanted to make a “European record” almost in apology for the actions of his compatriots.

The catchy opener Connection is an early highlight that captures this mood perfectly, with its lyrics telling of a connection to the rest of Europe that Pritchard clearly doesn’t want to walk away from.

Cold Heart is built around a decent guitar riff, while Closer benefits from a stunning guitar and synth combination even if its chorus does lack bite.

A bouncy, funky Duran Duran-like bassline ensures 25 is the biggest highlight of the album’s second half, alongside some cracking guitar work and hopeful lyrics that exclaim “we’ll always be 25”.

Oasis shares a name with the Gallagher brothers’ old band but instead sounds more like Foals with a chirpy, repetitive riff at its heart for its two minutes of life. “Only you can get me through the night,” Pritchard intones. 

At times, it doesn’t quite work (Modern Days feels muddled, Without A Doubt is blandly acoustic, Jesse James rides glitzy synths but ultimately struggles for direction) but the speed bumps don’t detract from the collection as a whole. It’s not revelatory, it’s not mind-blowing, but it is a worthy addition to a discography that has shown numerous flashes of promise but nothing monumental.

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