Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Bonus Discs Make Me Smile.....

So, as i mentioned here, i got a bonus surprise when i picked up Konk from The Kooks a few weeks ago: Rak - a bonus disc packaged with limited edition releases of the Brighton band's second release. Also, i talked a little about the importance of this new album from The Kooks here.
Konk shows the rising band's slight shift from the more electric, rockin', sometimes reggae-like debut Inside In/Inside Out with a slightly calmer, lyrical record. While i find the hook writing far superior on the debut, there is no doubting the maturation in song writing and structure with Konk. i'm not initially blown away by the record - like i was with the first - but i'll give it time to grow on me. What we're here for today, however, is to talk about that bonus CD.

Rak takes that laid-back attitude and brings it to another level. It seems like it was a more candid recording session - with far less overdubing and track usage. It also shows the band experimenting with new things: many more co-writes from various band members, use of the piano, and Hugh Harris even takes the lead vocals on a couple tracks (Kinda like those sporadic Stones songs that Keith takes the reins on......).

mp3: The Kooks - No Longer (written and sung by Hugh Harris)
This is one of those experimental tracks. Groovy, well-written, and catchy - all the things that i like about The Kooks. It uses some amazing contrapuntal harmony techniques that always grab my attention (y'know kinda like the row, row, row your boat deal you did in music class). This one could have easily held its own on Konk. Hopefully this is just proof that is more than one budding talent in this band.

Another standout track on Rak is Eaten By Your Lover. The quirky lyrics, piano, and short length (only 1:06) sorta echo something off the bonus disc that came with Spoon's Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga.
mp3: The Kooks - Eaten By Your Lover

One of the things that kept bothering me about Inside In/Inside Out was the fact that at the beginning of Time Awaits, they have this bluesy, acoustic - sitting around mics in the studio -feeling and then they tear it apart with electricity and borderline obnoxious guitars. So the shift into that more acoustic style is what pulls me into a lot of the tracks on Konk/Rak. If you've heard Konk, you've heard some of this styling on Tick of Time. It's the song where they start singing one, break into laughter, and start a completely different song. If you happened to like the groove of the inital try - your're in luck. It shows up on Rak:

mp3: The Kooks - Hatful of Love
It's full acoustic (just brushes on the drums) and live-in-studio style.

Another standout track is the opener, Watchin' The Ships Roll In, that kinda reminds of the opener on their debut, Seaside. They also have a beachy-sounding reggae, alternate version of See The Sun from Konk. The bonus disc ends with what could be considered Luke's most introspective tune with a solo piano ballad called Brooklyn.

i'd like to post these songs for those of you who weren't lucky enough to get the limited edition, but i'll probably have to take those that i did post down soon - i think the initial songs i posted from Konk a few weeks back were the ones that got my Album Release Forecast, Vol. 2 post deleted. Download while you can......

You can get the Limited Edition of Konk from Amazon here.

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