Thursday, March 22, 2007

Album Review: The Kooks Inside In Inside Out (Astralwerks)

In skimming critics' end-of-year best of 2006 lists, I was surprised to spot the Kooks in several lists for best song but not best album. That honor is usually bestowed on ubiquitous radio hits, guilty pleasures acknowledged as much for their pop culture impact as much as their actual artistry. But the Kooks hardly made a splash last year. Still, I was intrigued, if only for their Nuggets-worthy moniker.

Listening to Inside In Inside Out, I can see why individual songs such as "She Moves In Her Own Way," made more of an impression that the work as a whole. The band has hooks hung on a acoustic/electric guitar mix, like a sunny, poppier Strokes. But they are done in by the lack of editing. The album doesn't end so much as peter out. The 70-80 minutes that can fill a CD doesn't oblige a band to fill the whole thing. For a band that sounds lifted from the LP era, they would have been better off working with the LP's time constraints.

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