In the rock star world, sobriety can be a relative concept. Talking about the atmosphere surrounding the recording of The Kooks sixth album in Berlin, singer Luke Pritchard candidly revealed “I wasn’t doing any drugs, It was more dive bars and a bottle of whiskey than Berghain.”
The choice of city was a europhile’s direct response to Brexit, a sense of hands across the channel doubled down on with collaborators who included Tobias Kuhn, German duo Milky Chance and Swedish producer Neikid. The intent was to step away to an extent from the band’s indie roots of the past – although it shouldn’t be forgotten that their 2005 debut Inside In/Inside Out sold two million copies – and refresh a sound for the new generation of streaming fans picked up over the last few years.
Straddling old and new audiences can be tricky – ask The Libertines – but with Pritchard’s songs chiefly inspired by becoming a father, Ten Tracks to Echo in The Dark is a neat enough balancing act, although without a hint of risk. In the now we have the likes of Connection, Jesse James and the peak frizz of Modern Days, but for those listeners who can still remember the days when the Uni bar still took cash the acoustic closer Without A Doubt will do. It seems there’s something to be said for kind of clean living.
You can read a full review here.