The Kooks are an English indie rock band from Brighton, England. Formed in 2004, the band currently consists of lead vocalist and rhythm guitarist Luke Pritchard, lead guitarist Hugh Harris, drummer Paul Garred and bassist Peter Denton.
Taking their name from the David Bowie song "Kooks", the band were signed to Virgin Records after just three months of performing locally around Brighton. Having been allowed time to develop by the label, the band entered London's Konk Studios to record their debut album Inside In/Inside Out. Their first single, "Eddie's Gun", achieved chart success reaching number 35 on the UK Singles Chart. The album was released in early 2006 and although starting slowly, it eventually peaked at number two on the UK Albums Chart. It produced six singles that entered the top 40 in the UK, including two top 10 hits; "Naïve" and "She Moves in Her Own Way". The Kooks found themselves entering into mainstream media attention, with the band winning the award for Best UK & Ireland Act at the MTV Europe Music Awards 2006 and picking up a nomination at The Brit Awards for the single "She Moves in Her Own Way". Their first effort ultimately gave them success in the UK; in the form of a four times platinum certification, and also overseas; becoming platinum in Australia and two times platinum in Ireland.
The band's second album Konk (2008) debuted at number one on the UK Albums Chart and sold over 65,000 copies in its first week. In the United States, it reached number 41 on the Billboard 200 and the album's first single, "Always Where I Need to Be", peaked at number 22 on the Alternative Songs chart. The album was certified gold in both the UK and Ireland. The Kooks are currently working on their third studio album.
Formation and early years (2004-2005)
The original members of The Kooks all met as students at the Brighton Institute of Modern Music. Drawing influence from artists and bands such as Neil Young, The Police and The Rolling Stones. Luke Pritchard made the decision to form a band, saying they "got together just on a whim, " he would ask Max Raffety, later bassist for The Kooks, to become involved under the guise of a school music project. After bringing Hugh Harris and Paul Garred into the group, they began playing small gigs and performances around Brighton, where they were based. Pritchard revealed the first song they ever played as a group was a cover version of The Strokes' song "Reptilia".
The Kooks recorded an EP demo, sending it out in search of gigs, they instead received offers from managers and record companies. The band had only been together as a group for three months when they signed with Virgin Records, after being spotted by the label at the Brighton Free Butt Festival in 2005. In an interview with musicohm.com, Pritchard revealed "It was really quick how it all happened, we did a demo with a mate of ours in London, which we sent off to one guy to get some gigs, and he turned out to be a manager. He rung us up and it kind of went from there." The members of the band have since revealed that they felt they weren’t ready at the time, "We were way too early to sign a record deal to be honest with you. We were really young, we'd been together like two or three months, so we really didn't want to sign. But then we thought it's a really good opportunity and Virgin seemed like really cool people - they just seemed to really understand where we were coming from.," said Pritchard, who has also complimented the space the record label allowed for the band to grow, "They were patient with us and let us develop our style, whatever it is."
Inside In/Inside Out (2006-2007)
After they signed to Virgin Records, The Kooks did not want to record an album straight away, instead deciding to focus more on their live performances and songwriting. The band has said embarking on their first live tour instead of recording an album initially helped them develop their style and sound. As Pritchard claimed, "We didn’t sit down with a blueprint. We just naturally developed and we didn’t try to shape or mould ourselves to anything." As a result, they went into the studio with hundreds of songs from a variety of genres, and it took an "incredible amount of patience" from producer Tony Hoffer to shape the content into what would become the record.
Following their first tour, The Kooks began recording their debut album, Inside In/Inside Out, at Konk studios in London. The album was released in January 2006. First week sales of the album were minimal, at 19,098. Although, the album eventually climbed up the charts and peaked at number two for a total of two weeks on the UK Albums Chart. The first single released off the album, "Eddie's Gun", was a top 40 hit and Inside In/Inside Out would ultimately produce six top 40 hits, including two top 10 hits; "Naïve" and "She Moves in Her Own Way".
The album went on to be certified triple platinum within a year and has sold over two million units to date. The success of their debut album brought the band into mainstream media attention, winning the award for best UK and Ireland act at the MTV Awards in 2006 and picking up a Brit Awards nomination for "She Moves in Her Own Way", in 2007.
Critical response to the album was generally favourable, with a total score of 73% on review aggregator Metacritic, based on 18 reviews. Prefix magazine described the album as "An almost-perfect blend of '60s-style Britpop, '90s-style Britpop, and the post-punk of the new millennium", giving it an 8 out of 10. NME also rated it favourably, saying it was "An eclectic but thoroughly satisfying record."
Some critics were less satisfied with The Kooks' debut, Uncut claimed the album was "Breathless power-pop offset by an innuendo-laden lyricism". While others believe the band was over-hyped and undeserving of their acclaim, in particular Rolling Stone stated in their review, "The Kooks serve as an important reminder that there are just as many mediocre bands in the U. K. as there are here in the States."
The second studio album by The Kooks, Konk, was named after the recording studio where it was recorded and produced by Tony Hoffer. It was released on 14 April 2008. Prior to releasing the album, in an interview with NME, lead singer Luke Pritchard had claimed to have 80-90 songs written for the album, stating, "I want this album to be big……I've got an ego, I want the album to do well. I want our singles to come on the radio and for people to literally have their heads blown off by them".
Konk went on to debut on the UK Albums Chart at number one with first week sales of 65,901 units. The album also spawned three top 50 hits including their highest chart performer to date, "Always Where I Need to Be", which peaked at number three. RAK, a second part limited edition two disc version of Konk was also released. It contains nine extra tracks, including an alternate version of "See the Sun" and a home demo called "Brooklyn".
Critical response to Konk was mixed, generating a score of 65% from a total of 22 reviews on Metacritic. Betty Clark of The Guardian claimed that "Pritchard hits new high notes and rises to the challenge of the vibrant melodies and finely tuned choruses", giving the album 4 out of 5. However musicOHM.com rated the album poorly, saying while "It will no doubt be the soundtrack of the summer for many people, but the lack of originality, warmth and soul may well leave some feeling rather under whelmed." Kate Sharp in a review for BBC music considered the album a failure in comparison to their debut, claiming "second album syndrome" as the cause.
Departure of Max Rafferty and third studio album (2008-present)
Bassist for The Kooks, Max Rafferty, permanently left the band on the 31 January 2008, after a series of absences due to illness and long-standing rumours about his place in the band, Rafferty's drug addiction was also quoted as one of the reasons for his departure. Dan Logan, bassist with a local Brighton band Cat the Dog, was drafted in as a temporary replacement for Rafferty. After the departure of Rafferty, the band had considered splitting up. Singer Luke Pritchard had told the The Sun's Something for the Weekend that "Splitting does go through your mind. It's hard to let go of something you care about so much. We have fans to think of." Pritchard also discussed the possibility of Dan Logan joining the band as their new bassist, "It's been really strange for us but it's something that had to happen. Dan hasn’t joined the band properly yet. We're trying him out, but I love playing with him." In the end, Logan did not join the band on a permanent basis, instead in October 2008, Peter Denton was drafted into the band and has become the permanent bassist.
The Kooks revealed to BBC's Newsbeat in April 2009, that they were working on their third studio album. Pritchard told Newsbeat, "We kind of barricaded ourselves in the countryside for a few weeks - stayed at some friend's who have a cottage in Norfolk." The band were said to be rehearsing and "writing new stuff." The band is also set to return to touring, with shows scheduled in the UK throughout the summer.
Musical style and influences
Self described "musical whores" The Kooks have drawn on a number of varied sources to create their indie pop sound. Listing The Rolling Stones, The Beatles, Bob Dylan and Chris De Burgh among their influences the band have gradually developed both their song writing style and musical presentation over the course of their two albums.
The band’s debut album Inside In/Inside Out was touted as a typical Britpop record, owing influence to The Libertines, Thin Lizzy, The Police and containing elements of the 60’s Britpop movement. Furthermore Pritchard’s lyrical style was compared to that of a "younger, less pathetic version of Pete Doherty's mush-mouth style". The band themselves felt the album was not consistent in its direction." The first record was definitely genre-hopping……The first album was finding its feet, it was gadabout." claimed Harris in an interview with Nadine Regan of wordpress.com.
On the follow up Konk the band attempted to find a more mature and polished sound. Drawing on a much wider choice of material for the album, some 80-90 songs, the band began to incorporate more a hard-edged rock focus into their music, with influence from then new bassist Dan Logan, evident on songs like "Do You Wanna" and "Sway". Critics drew comparisons to the work of The Kinks throughout the album, it being recorded at the studio owned by Ray Davies. Also noted were the band’s growing similarities in musical direction to The Fratellis’ and the Arctic Monkeys. The band commented on the album’s style, "I think we've made a dynamic album," Pritchard said." Every song has its own character. It's a good pop album."
Since gaining mainstream media attention The Kooks have incited a number of rivalries with other bands, most notably with Razorlight and Arctic Monkeys. In an interview with NME in 2006, Razorlight's lead singer Jonny Borrell claimed that The Kooks were simply copying their style; furthermore he claimed The Kooks were creating singles simply for the purpose of gaining radio airplay. Borrell stated, "The Kooks sound like they’re rolling over and begging Radio 1 to fuck them." In response, The Kooks dedicated their single "Naïve" to Borrell live onstage during their final concert at London's Astoria. However Pritchard, in an attempt to end the feud spoke with Borrell at the Q Awards in 2006, to which Borrell replied "Who are you again?".
In 2008, The Kooks revealed an ongoing dispute with Arctic Monkeys. The feud arose from Pritchard kicking Alex Turner, lead singer for Arctic Monkeys, in the face whilst onstage. Pritchard claimed that Turner had been attempting to disrupt his performance. "I had to kick Alex in the face after he tried to pull the leads out of my guitar pedals while we were on stage." Pritchard spoke to The Daily Mail about his efforts to apologise for the incident later on. "I saw them recently in a studio and tried to patch things up. I asked Alex if he wanted to have a bit of a jam in the studio, but he just turned his back and walked away." Pritchard went on to describe the Arctic Monkeys as "arrogant" but conceded that Turner is "a genius musician, and a really talented song writer, but now we've got this beef. But he shouldn't have touched my guitar."
|Year||Album details||Peak chart positions||Certifications
|2006||Inside In/Inside Out||2||—||3||74||25||24||165||17||3||AUS: Gold
IRE: 2× Platinum
UK: 4× Platinum
|"—" denotes releases that did not chart or were not released in that territory.|
|Year||Single||Peak chart positions||Album|
|2005||"Eddie's Gun"||35||—||—||—||—||Inside In/Inside Out|
|2006||"You Don't Love Me"||12||—||—||—||—|
|"She Moves in Her Own Way"||7||11||55||11||39|
|2008||"Always Where I Need to Be"||3||15||43||40||22||Konk|
|"—" denotes releases that did not chart or were not released in that territory.|
|Year||Song contributed||Release title|
|2006||"She Moves in Her Own Way" (Acoustic)||The Acoustic Album|
|2006||"The King And I||Colours Are Brighter|
|2007||"She Moves in Her Own Way" (Live)||The Saturday Sessions: The Dermot O'Leary Show|
|2009||"Victoria" (The Kinks cover)||War Child Presents Heroes|
|2009||"Stormy Weather (Frank Sinatra cover)||His Way, Our Way|
- The Kooks - Official website
Biography from Wikipedia