There has always been a distinct brightness freckled with a melancholic undertone throughout the music offered from The Kooks. The British indie-pop band emerged in 2006 with their debut album Inside In/Inside Out that featured anthems like “Naïve” and “Seaside.” The four-piece band delivered three subsequent albums and acquired over one billion streams worldwide. While experimenting with sounds and exploring varying avenues stylistically, The Kooks managed to maintain a core foundation in their music. “Some people say we are sunshine pop, and we are. It’s a bit of a mission statement for us,” frontman Luke Pritchard says of the band. Following the likes of The Beach Boys and The Beatles, The Kooks unveiled their fifth studio album Let’s Go Sunshine and with it, made a return to their roots.
“We’re not an introspective band. We’re very much an outward looking, quite ambitious band,” Pritchard says. Drawing inspiration from quintessential British bands, Let’s Go Sunshine was imagined with wide eyes and hopeful attitudes. “This album to me was all about us being ourselves and totally comfortable in our own skin,” Pritchard tells me. With that said, the band made a decision to stray from their past creative processes and return to their first album. Instead of recording music in different rooms, Pritchard says they went full-circle and really connected as a band. “We were in a room playing together. I know it sounds really simple but that was a really big different from the last album.”
Upon listening to the album, you can hear the band’s foundation shine through on songs like “No Pressure” and “Fractured and Dazed.”
The 15-song album is complete with uplifting and euphoric songs that feel like the staple sound for The Kooks, but Pritchard admits that sometimes that is the hardest thing to create. “In a way, it’s easier to make very introspective shoegazing cool music but we tend to go the other way.”
While maintaining an infectious Britpop sound that is reminiscent of the bands Pritchard thrives on such as The Smiths and The Kinks, Let’s Go Sunshine takes the plunge into sharper lyrical territory. For instance, on “Four Leaf Clover,” Pritchard makes a simple comment on cyber bullying but is backed by an upbeat, happy sound. “We all know it’s an issue but I feel quite strongly about it. The song is trying to talk about someone who has had something shitty happen in their life and that’s why they’re unloading on other people,” he says of the song’s “mean” lyric.
Pritchard continues to explain that on a lot of great British records, there is eclecticism and a bit of humor. “I think there’s a lot of that one our record. There’s tongue-in-cheek humor but then there’s also depth and introspective moments,” he adds. Those introspective moments all tend to circle back to the band’s moral code. “There are elements of talking about personal redemption… which is kind of hard because we’ve all made mistakes. But, we’re trying to be good people. It’s basically the concept of the record,” Pritchard decides.
Embracing their moral code and their beloved sound, The Kooks are back to their roots on Let’s Go Sunshine and it feels like what we all need right now.
Let’s Go Sunshine is available now.