Friday, March 30, 2007

Brit Bits - A Kooks Re-Cap

Photo by Lina Lecaro, LA Weekly

I may not be much of a straight pop fan, but I’m a sucker for a Kook. And last week saw four of them, in fact, make a surprising return to Los Angeles for a US television debut on Jimmy Kimmel Live. With Coachella stealing potential L.A. tour dates from a number of bands this spring, Kooks included, the live appearance was an occasion to savor, both for me and the moderate mob of high school to college-aged girls crowded behind the stage barrier of the JKL studio lot.

Only a track and a half were aired on television that night, but the Brighton boys treated us to six songs – five expected hits, the cherry being “Naïve,” of course – and “Come On Down,” a song so new that, according to Luke Pritchard, no audience had heard it until this very Thursday evening. More admirer than critic when I’m in fangirl mode, I hadn’t noticed until this recent set just how differently each band member approaches live performance. As noted by the L.A. Weekly’s bit on the show this week, the set was rather loose, much in part to Pritchard, who’s grown accustomed to wagging a passionate finger at the subject and/or audience of his songs, all the while hopping about rather freely. Meanwhile, drummer Paul Garred plays most stylishly and occasionally with a smile, while Hugh Harris has got a look of focus and Max Rafferty a gaze of fright. Admittedly, Rafferty’s piercing blue eyes are even more haunting when sandwiched between Freddy-style sweater and hat, though his nerves may have been a bit on edge after suddenly remembering the sexual history he’d divulged on Loveline the night prior.

If you missed their live performance and haven’t snagged a ticket to any show on their sold-out US tour this April, fret not (or to a lesser degree, anyway), as the Kooks are planning on putting out a second album in a matter of time. Last fall, Pritchard informed the NME that the upcoming record would be “amazing,” given the collective rise in age and maturity since the first record’s songwriting process took place. After several months of touring, though, the follow-up was a claim that there’d be no pressure to meet expectations this time around, seeing as the group hadn’t expected such massive success so early on and have now earned “the right to make the next few records that [they] want to do.” Good for them. In addition to the new track they revealed to our audience last week, the Kooks have two acoustic songs temporarily up for preview on their website, “Belly Love” and “Do You Love Her”. More mature, absolutely, but with all the boys barely hovering around legal American drinking age, it’ll likely be a few years before they stop seeing the fun in an old-fashioned pop song.

Buried in the rubble: "She Moves in Her Own Way" from Jimmy Kimmel Live, March 22
The Kooks on
The Kooks on

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