The Kooks: Islington Bar Academy, London, Thurs Sept 1
Get set for the Brighton boys. They’re in London to steal the pop crown and prove it by providing a stage invasion
Sometimes there’s nothing quite as good as a perfectly-formed pop song. A singalong chorus can be all it takes to pull you out of the doldrums of everyday existence and into a blissful world in which all reality TV stars are shot and in which happy hour at Wetherspoons lasts forever.
The Kooks, bless their cottons, deliver music that almost makes you feel that good. A perfectly groomed little ball of fiery energy, springboard-haired singer Luke Pritchard seems doomed to knacker himself out by the end of the opening polished indie pop of ‘If Only’. Thankfully he seems to have enough enthusiasm to continue, strapping on a guitar for ‘Eddie’s Gun’, a sublime slab of tuneful summery perfection that’s almost annoying in its toe-tapping goodness. OK, it may be penned in honour of MOR maiden Katie Melua, but no-one ever said The Kooks were rough and ready rowdy beer boys – they’re less a violent, early Oasis, more the nice young boys Ash were when they first skipped along; fresh, green and ready to please.
With their short, sharp shocks of songs that never outstay their welcome, the Brighton foursome sport tight T-shirts and bash out even tighter tunes that are mini-anthems in the making. ‘Pull Me In’ skips right over the fast disappearing summer-of-ska bandwagon and heads straight for a reggae flavour instead, ending up sounding like The Strokes after one too many Red Stripes down Notting Hill Carnival.
It’s a triumph, and even a stage invasion at the end can’t put the boys off their stride, lending a touch of magic to an already enchanting set.