British rockers the Kooks have given listeners an early taste of summer with their latest release, Konk. The catchy acoustic riffs and light-hearted lyrics that made the quartet famous on their first album, Inside In/Inside Out, are back, leaving the listener far from disappointed. It's hard to put out a great sophomore album after a stellar debut but the Kooks succeed in high fashion.
See the Sun"" leads off the album with a relatively quiet entrance, spotlighting the vocals of front man Luke Pritchard and his strong British accent you can't help but love. Once the tempo picks up and the mood lightens, it's evident the quartet is back.
The first single and next track, ""Always Where I Need to Be,"" fits right in with the hit singles ""Naive"" and ""Ooh, La"" from In/Out. Its catchy beats and jovial lyrics, such as ""Now I see her again / I have to be a hummingbird / Whisper words in her ear,"" brings a cheerful feeling.
Konk improves on their debut by omitting much of the reggae influence that didn't quite fit with the rest of In/Out. Fans needn't worry, though; the reggae rock isn't lost completely, just toned down to keep continuity in the band's sound. ""Tick of Time"" is a reggae-influenced song that relaxes the tone with a short intro that sounds like a microphone accidentally left on in the studio. Pritchard sings of devastation yet keeps a nonchalant tone with lyrics like ""What did I do in a past life, oh to deserve this / Yeah the way I make myself."" Despite the dark tone, you can't help but kick back and enjoy the simplicity of it all.
The Kooks mix up the album with a lot of back and forth between happy and depressing lyrics, but never fail to keep a cheery feeling throughout. Guitarist Hugh Harris' catchy guitar licks and solid rhythms are especially prominent on ""Mr. Maker,"" making it a great contender for the second single.
Amidst a seemingly large amount of saddening lyrics, ""Do You Wanna"" brings back a strong self-confidence felt on their debut. Singing ""Do you wanna / Do you wanna make love to me ... I know you wanna make love to me,"" Pritchard tells about a newfound interest after the heartbreak evident in the other tracks.
Although their sound may not stray far from the classic Brit-rock vibe, the Kooks deliver on their latest album. Konk brings many great things to the table, but it will be interesting to see if the quartet branches out with their next release. The Kooks may not be nearly as big in the United States as they are in Europe, but they're ready to attempt another British invasion with yet another record full of instant summer hits.