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25th October 2011

Album: The Kooks – Junk of the Heart

Junk of the Heart? More like Junk of the Chart.

The Kooks
Junk of the Heart
Virgin Records

2 out of 5

Love them or hate them, The Kooks’ 2006 debut album Inside In/Inside Out was admittedly packed full of catchy, toe-tapping pop songs, tracks like ‘Naïve’ and ‘She Moves in Her Own Way’ helping them become every schoolgirl’s favourite indie band and secure two top-ten singles. Fast forward five years and The Kooks return with third offering Junk of the Heart, hoping to make amends for 2008’s critically, and commercially disappointing Konk.

It’ll come as no surprise to most then, that this album once again fails to live up to the mark. Junk of the Heart comes across as a record made by a band who have clearly lost their way, as well as their relevance. Luke Pritchard’s lyrics appear weak, and even his distinctive voice disappoints too, especially in opening track ‘Junk of the Heart (Happy)’ when he struggles to cram in an extra syllable during a cringeworthy chorus of “I wanna make you happy/I wanna make you feel alive.”

The Kooks are clearly desperate to record another ‘Naïve,’ and have pulled out all the cliché 2011 indie tricks in the book. ‘Runaway’ takes a more synth-pop/electronic direction, but like most of the album sounds weak and is instantly forgettable.

There are some high points here, ‘Is It Me’ is as catchy as some of the band’s earlier material and is an obvious choice for lead single despite once again being lyrically poor, whereas other tracks such as ‘Killing Me’ start off promisingly, only to be let down by weak choruses. With this record it seems hard to imagine the Kooks reliving their ‘glory days’ of a few summers back, especially considering that the fan base that propelled them to arena status are now much older and wiser. Junk of the Heart shows The Kooks to be a band who are desperately running out of ideas.

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