When The Kooks hit the scene in the mid-aughts, the British pop-rockers experienced whirlwind success right out of the gate. Their 2006 debut album, “Inside In/Inside Out,” went five times platinum in the U.K., and various other awards and accolades followed.
“It was little bit of a blur. … When I look back, it was great and I feel good about it, but we were spinning tops without an anchor,” singer Luke Pritchard, 33, told HuffPost, adding, “We had an interesting ride because we got big when we were young and our first album was out when we were like 18, 19 years old. We were kids. When you jump into something like that at that age, you gotta realize that it’s not going to be that trajectory your whole life.”
Several years have passed, and The Kooks are now out with their fifth album, “Let’s Go Sunshine.” Though things have simmered down a bit, The Kooks’ musical drive hasn’t waned. Pritchard and the band hoped to capture the “magic” again with this latest release.
“We wanted something that had a lot of heart but also had a lot of humor. That was something that as a songwriter, I think I kind of lost a bit,” Pritchard said.
The Kooks got inspired listening to everything from jazz to classic rock acts, including Queen, David Bowie and The Beatles. But that didn’t mean working on “Let’s Go Sunshine” ― The Kooks’ follow-up to 2014’s “Listen” ― was necessarily easy.
“There’s been ups and downs. ... This album took a minute. With making music, you can’t rush it,” Pritchard said. “You can’t force it. It wasn’t really happening for a minute. … We just took a bit of time to find out what we wanted to do.”
So, Pritchard went back to the drawing board. Instead of sitting in front of a computer to write songs, he took out his guitar and wrote music the old-fashioned way: with pen and paper. The process ended up sparking a slew of creative juices.
“The album has a lot of joy in it,” he said. “I like to confront people unashamedly that we’re making some sunshine music. There’s not enough of that going on in the world of music.”
And if you listen carefully, you’re likely to find a few key Easter eggs strewn throughout the lyrics. “There are a lot of references that we were having fun with,” he said.
In the end, Pritchard said, he and his bandmates ― now far from the teenagers who put out “Inside In/Inside Out”― had to look at themselves in the mirror and say: “What are we? What are we trying to put out?’”
The magic, they soon realized, came down to simply creating “a great rock and roll album.”
“Let’s Go Sunshine” is out now.