The press loves The Kooks and it really shouldn't be surprising. They're young, British, and write some exceptionally catchy songs. As a matter of fact; their debut album for Astralwerks, Inside In/Inside Out, blasts through fifteen songs in just under forty-five minutes. It also transcends normal genre boundaries. They remain indie enough to keep the hipsters happy, yet at the same time they have an old school Kinks quality to them that would make my parents dance along to them as well.
While the album opens with the acoustic "Seaside," it only takes about a minute and a half before things start to pick up with the guitar-heavy "See The World." Bouncy guitar rhythms and quick, snappy lyrics abound in "Eddie's Gun," a song that sounds like it could have been a Supergrass b-side back in the mid-90s. Then there is "Matchbox," an '80s inspired ska tune that showcases Luke Pritchard's range as a vocalist. The same goes for "Time Awaits," which starts off like a drunken sing-along before bursting into a full on '80s jam that fades in and back out several times. Personally, it might sound better if "Time Awaits" was listed as a secret track rather than an album one, but it does manage to break the pattern and create diversity.
What The Kooks really excel in is their rhythm section, always keeping things fresh and danceable. While this is apparent with tracks like "You Don't Love Me," they stretch their arms with "Do You Love Me Still" and "Got No Love," two of the slower ones on the album. It goes without saying that Inside In / Inside Out is a noble, uplifting debut. Let's just hope that their next album is just as great as this one.