Seaside aptly started to play as a friend and I pulled off the M25, driving towards the seafront of Bexhill-on-Sea to see The Kooks play the De La Warr Pavilion. Said friend, admittedly, hadn’t kept up much with the British band since their 2005 record, so we spent most of the drive updating her with Let’s Go Sunshine, the fifth album from the beloved band of our youth.
We both felt foolishly wise and nostalgic as we made our way easily through the crowd, a combination of the 30 plus bracket and a new generation of young teenage fans whose doting fathers hung back a few rows. Opening with ‘Kids’, new songs ‘Initials for Gainsborough’ and ‘All The Time’ met Kooks cornerstones ‘Eddie’s Gun’ and ‘Sofa Song.’ Front man Luke effortlessly held the stage and the show together, with a captivating energy matched by the crowd.
Even so, the new album often felt a bit of a struggle, venturing towards doing something new whilst not alienating an audience after those sing-a-long hits. It feels familiar, but not familiar enough, nor grippingly new. I’m not sure if The Kooks managed to match the magic of those first few albums, but I wait and listen in hope.