“It’s a word that looks and sounds beautiful,” says Luke Pritchard. “I love the roundness of it, the simplicity of it.” The word the Kooks singer is extolling is “Listen” – which also happens to be the title of the band’s new album. Luke’s reasons for choosing that title become clear the moment you dive into the new record – as they do when he starts to describe its genesis, and the personal and emotional transformation he experienced while making it. The way we’ve made the album felt fresh. Rather than us just being a band in a room, playing our guitars with the vocal over the top, which is what we’d always done before, we were really listening to what was going on around us, picking up ideas. The whole thing was much more natural.” Their song Listen was kick-started by the track Around Town, the bare bones of which Luke laid down in his flat in London. The song’s subject matter is catty, its melody infectious and immediate – and, compared with the Kooks’ previous material, it represents a major shift.
The Kooks have just made the album of their lives.