British indie-pop pioneers The Kooks release their sixth studio album, ’10 TRACKS TO ECHO IN THE DARK’, via Lonely Cat/AWAL Recordings, a new electronic-tinged evolution of their signature sound.
The band took a new approach to releasing the album; being released in three parts, with the first two parts consisting of 3-track EPs and the last part – released today – adding four more tracks to make up the complete LP.
Alongside the album, the group unveils the clip for the latest single “Cold Heart”. Directed by Polocho and filmed in London, the visual finds the band inside a futuristic space station, as alien beings begin “experiments” on them. A tribute to 2001: A Space Odyssey, the video incorporates an AI “cold heart”, which quivers in frustration when the aliens come face to face with the “humans”, eventually losing themselves in the dance as the band plays their music .
After a world arena tour, the UK release of their ‘Let’s Go Sunshine’ album in 2018 saw the band headline at festivals across Europe and at home. The streaming boom had opened The Kooks up to a new audience of young fans who loved their distinctive brand of indie pop and were eager to see them perform live.
After a grueling tour, frontman Luke Pritchard vowed to take a breather. But instead, he found himself back in the studio.
“I started going to Berlin for three or four days in a row. I was really touched by Brexit and I wanted to make a big impression by creating a European record,” he explains. “We’re a European band, we practically lived there and have so much love for Europe, so we wanted to keep that connection.”
Berlin has long been something of a creative mecca for artists around the world and Pritchard found himself moving in those circles, meeting the collaborators he would work with on their juggernaut of a sixth album, “10 TRACKS TO ECHO IN THE DARK”. The period was one of work, inspiration and creativity rather than celebration. “I didn’t take any drugs,” Pritchard says. “It was more dive bars and a bottle of whiskey than Berghain.”
The environment quickly began to work its magic. “A lot of songwriters have found refuge in Berlin,” he says. “It’s a free place, it’s not so consumed by commercialization. I was looking for something a little more raw, a little more minimal. Sometimes you pick up those nuances somewhere. It’s not necessarily the folks, this is the place.”
Armed with a new mantra – don’t overthink it and just make a record he’d like to listen to at home, the ideas came freely and easily. Teaming up with Tobias Kuhn to co-write and produce most of the record, their first writing session saw them pen the lead single “Connection”, in just a few hours.
Things were going well with the pair laying down five tracks, but in March 2020 COVID put an end to Pritchard’s European dream, forcing him to return home to the UK to complete writing sessions on Zoom until so that Tobias can fly to London. and record with him and the rest of the band, Hugh Harris (guitar/synthesizer/bass) and Alexis Nunez (drums).
Marrying and becoming a father for the first time, we hear of a new Pritchard – one whose demons are behind him and who is optimistic about the future.
“I really hope that feeling of inner peace comes through,” Pritchard says of the album’s decidedly optimistic outlook. “I really want to have fun with my life at this point. But also – it’s kind of a reflection of how I felt in real time in a pre and post COVID world. I was reading a lot of sci-fi – like Philip K. Dick, Azimov and surreal stuff like Boris Vian – which is obviously very distracting from what’s going on in the world, but helped me be imaginative with the songs.”
Luke concludes: “During the pandemic I’ve had a lot of time to go through our albums and feel proud and lucky. This album is a real thank you to our fans for supporting us for so long, we hope you like it “
Listen to the new album here:
Watch the new music video here: