Thursday, April 17, 2008

The Kooks: Have they ever heard themselves?

Kierkegaard, it was, who observed that "a man may accomplish many feats and comprehend a vast amount of knowledge and still have no understanding of himself", so perhaps we shouldn't be too hard on Luke Pritchard, a man who clearly has no understanding of himself or his band at all.

The Kooks are playing some gigs in the US, and Luke feels the hand of history on his shoulder:

"I'm a romantic ya know," coos the crooner, "and it's quite a romatic thing to come over from England like the Beatles or Stones and have that relationship with America and bring our music over there."

Obviously, the Kooks have travelled across from England, and, yes, The Beatles and the Stones did do the same, but we'd suggest that - unless we've missed scenes of screaming teenagers greeting them at the airports - there are few parallels beyond that.

But Luke hasn't finished. You might think they're stage school mass-market pop, but - oh, no, no:
"Playing live and playing on the record are two different things," he says. "When we play live we are not trying to re-create the record. We are more like a punk band when we play live, so you can expect absolute anarchy from the stage."

Again, let's be fair - when he says they're more like a punk band live, there's absolutely no way they could be any less like a punk band than their bland, please-like-me, lets-not-rock-the-boat records; but "absolute anarchy"? From The Kooks?


Jack said...

The last time I saw them playing a proper gig (November 2005, supporting The Subways at The Kentish Town Forum, if you must know), the most anarchy that was going on was between the two guitarists and their guitar tech who had to change strings on at least one of their guitars after every song in a seven (or so) song set.

Not to say that I didn't enjoy them. No doubt I'll be dismissed as elitist, but I enjoyed them on the Subways support tours (I saw them nine times that way during 2005), but when lots of people start telling you that they think they're the greatest thing ever you do start to think that they're not quite that good.

duckie said...

"When we play live we are not trying to re-create the record."

I suspect that this is because, basic as their recorded sound is, they aren't capable of reproducing it. Although having seen Luke attempting to extemporise on the geetar on Later last week, maybe it would be better if they stuck to trying to re-create the record.

Robin Carmody said...

The most pathetic thing is that Pritchard probably *really does* think there's something "romantic" - as in rebellious, self-determined, against what the ruling elite wants us all to be - in cringing to the US. Whereas of course there is nothing *less* romantic today, nothing less opposed to the ruling elite's vision of Britain. He has all the traits of the Cameronista: pretending that his own recycled establishment politics are in any way *fresh* or *new*.

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