British indie group The Kooks have come back with their fourth studio album, titled Listen. And boy is this album different from anything they have done before. But don’t worry; the Kooks still stay true to their sound in most of the songs. Oh and be forewarned, when you listen to this album, you will most likely dance. A lot.
Listen starts off with the choir-laden “Around Town” that has some jazzy instrumentals in it, which is a great high energy way to open up an album. The jazzy sound continues through to the next track, “Forgive and Forget,” but this song features a funkier type of jazz, and I found myself bopping around to the music without even realizing I was doing it (which is always a good sign that the music is catchy). I’m then taken back to the classic Kooks style with “Westside” and “See Me Now” that is reminiscent of “Time Above the Earth” from 2011’s Junk of the Heart. The first single off of Listen is “Down” and whoa… am I still listening to the same album? When this ska-funk hybrid was first released as a single, I’m sure it took some Kooks fans off guard, just as it did me. After “Down” comes “Dreams” and I love the Spanish influence in this track.
Listen comes to a close with the moody “Sweet Emotion,” that dragged on a bit towards the end, but I still loved the majority of the song. The Kooks seem to have delved into every genre imaginable in this album; from funk to the track “Are We Electric” which as the name states, is full on electronica (I think this is better suited in a glow stick lighted rave than in something from the Kooks). But in this day and age where so many artists are playing it safe, I appreciate the Kooks’ spontaneity with their music. Simply put, Listen is worth a listen from music fans of all types.