Friday, April 29, 2022

They Grow Up So Fast: The Kooks’ New EP Moves Forward While Looking Back

The Kooks are an absolute staple of any indie guy's back catalogue. However, it’s the guy you trust to have a stellar taste in music, not the guy who thinks listening to The Smiths is a personality trait – we’ve all met them.  

The band defined themselves as a perfect example of what makes the UK music scene elite with their debut album ‘Inside In/Inside Out’. Now their new EP ‘Beautiful World – Echo in the Dark, Pt. II’ is bringing their music into the modern era.  

At just three songs long, the EP only comes in at 10 and a half minutes, but that’s perfect for a commuter to listen to on public transport or in the morning car ride.  

With a cover of a galaxy with a shooting star and the band stood in the foreground, it feels as though this album mixes old school with the new. Their backs being to the camera seems appropriate considering this EP has the band looking forward into their future. The three songs work well together, although, some are certainly stronger than others. This is a bit of a shame considering how little time the listener gets to spend with this new version of The Kooks.

The opening ‘Closer’ has a different sound to older Kooks songs. There is a bluesy vibe to the guitar in the background while the piano gives a pop flare to the song. However, this is undoubtedly the weakest track on the album. That doesn’t mean its bad, in fact, the drums in particular make it a very easy listen.


This track calls back to their 2000s roots, but feels equally modern. A hint of nostalgia is exactly what you’d expect from lyrics like “Walking in London like I did as a child”, “I’m passing through the neighbourhood where I grew up / Doesn’t feel like it used to”. The Kooks don’t feel like they used to, and they want to show this. After all, they’ve been around for over fifteen years now.

‘Beautiful World’ has an air of Declan McKenna’s first album ‘What Do You Think About The Car?’ to it. The opening bars especially give off a reggae feeling, which is admittedly quite different to the indie-rock anthems that they are known for, but after the first track it’s not particularly jarring. This is a difficult feat to accomplish in hindsight – most bands wish they could change their sound as drastically as this, let alone have it fit perfectly in contrast to their early work.  

The final track on the EP ‘25’ is clearly the strongest. This is much funkier then the previous two and has a pulsing disco beat, aided with a grooving bass riff. Funk and disco callbacks aren’t particularly original, but the synths works well to bring a modern element to the track and the guitar adds that bluesy sound once again. The elements in this song work so well together to create an upbeat sound with lyrics that are melancholic and reminiscent of times gone by: “Oh, it hurts to say goodbye / Just when I learned not to make you cry”.


Overall, this EP is a perfect mix of different genres and emotions. Nostalgia is essential to these three tracks, as they take the listener through a journey of remembering what came before and accepting the new present. The direction that The Kooks are taking is clear, and it looks like the road will only get more positive and nostalgic from here.


Emelia Mountford 


Image: The Kooks, 'Beautiful World - Echo in the Dark PT II' official EP cover  

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