KISS THE KOOKS: FROM PAGE 27
ing Pop singer Katie Melua. That relationship became a regular topic of coverage and speculation — much to the annoyance of Pritchard and his bandmates.
Some writers viewed The Kooks as having had a privileged upbringing since the three original members attended private schools and the band itself came together at England’s Brighton Institute of Music. Some critics used the lack of dues-paying struggle as ammunition to attack the group’s musical credibility.
The fact that some other British bands took swipes at The Kooks also generated plenty of column inches. Perhaps the most famous taunt came from Kasabian, which ridiculed The Kooks for writing songs for girls.
The British press also got plenty of mileage out of some seemingly haughty statements from Pritchard. He’s been quoted as saying he always believed The Kooks would be big stars. In another statement that might have been taken more seriously than intended, Pritchard said that as a songwriter, he’s a hit machine.
“I just roll ‘em out. I’m a one-man hit factory,” he told the British newspaper, The Guardian. The idea that Pritchard and the rest of the band have over-inflated egos is particularly irksome to Harris.
“That’s sort of focusing on a very small part of what Luke talks about. And that’s what the press in the U.K. started doing,” Harris says. “Luke’s not an arrogant guy. We’re not an arrogant band. It’s just everyone (who does this) wants to be successful. Everyone, when you start playing music, you want your music to be heard by as many people as possible, otherwise why are you playing it?” But plenty of critics apparently see The Kooks as overly ambitious, and Pritchard took plenty of flack when, prior to its release, he described the band’s recently released second CD, Konk, as a “Pop” album, a term that at least in Indie circles translates into selling out by writing superficial hit-worthy songs.
Harris found the critical barbs about Konk being too much like Inside In/Inside Out to be particularly off base. “The thing is we didn’t want to change (musically),” Harris said. “Why would we fucking want to change? We like playing Pop music, and we just wanted to capture the vibe of four dudes in a room having a good time. I don’t know why a lot of critics expect you to sort of change and adapt and I think if we had gone completely experimental, we would have gotten absolutely (slammed) for it because it would have been false.”
The Pop appeal of Konk is undeniable. Most of the songs at least offer breezy melodic hooks that are easy on the ears. And several songs, including “See The Sun,” “Always Where I Need To Be” and “Stormy Weather,” boast clever twists in the vocal melodies and guitar riffs that have always characterized the best of Beatles-rooted Pop music.
The cheery mood of the album seems to reflect the atmosphere that existed when The Kooks and producer Ton Hoffer recorded the CD at the Konk studio, the London facility owned by Kinks frontman Ray Davies.
“It was a live room,” Harris says. “It’s got an incredible vibe to it. It’s got an incredible feel to it, as a studio. It’s one of the best in London. The equipment in there, it’s old, but it’s good quality. And it wasn’t a tourist attraction like Abbey Road. It was just a very soulful studio that hadn’t been used in awhile.”
Fans who see the Kooks on tour this fall can expect to hear songs from both albums. Harris said it’s nice to have more than enough songs to fill a set. “We have a lot more material now, so that’s a good thing,” Harris says. “A lot of people sort of know the tunes off of the second record by now. So we’ve got a lot more to play.”©