Following their sold out tour across the UK for their 15th-anniversary tour celebrating ‘Inside In/Inside Out’, today, British indie trailblazers The Kooks release their new EP BEAUTIFUL WORLD – ECHO IN THE DARK PART II, listen here. The video for the track Beautiful World with German duo Milky Chance, will be live after midnight this evening.
The EP includes three tracks; Closer, Beautiful World featuring Milky Chance and 25. The EP is the second release from the band’s upcoming album and there’s a fresh approach to releasing the record; the album will be released in three parts, the first two parts consisting of 3-track EP releases and the final part adding a further four tracks to the full album release. 10 TRACKS TO ECHO IN THE DARK will be released on July 22nd via Lonely Cat / AWAL Recordings.
Luke comments on the EP “Really happy to announce the release of the second instalment of our album. I wrote ‘Beautiful World’ the day I found out El was pregnant. It’s a crazy world but it’s also beautiful and it’s amazing to bring a new life into it. Was so thrilled that the Milky Chance guys related to the tune and got involved, they brought a new sound and feel for us too. Very excited for everyone to hear it!”
Milky Chance comment on Beautiful World “We grew up with The Kooks so you probably can imagine how stoked we were to work with them. It’s a great song and we think it really speaks to a lot of people from our generation. Right now we’re on a turning point in history when it comes to taking care of this beautiful planet earth. And unfortunately there’s that strong feeling that we really fucked it up and just hoping that it’s not too late.”
After a worldwide arena tour, the release of their 2018 UK Top Ten album Let’s Go Sunshine – which includes triple j supported singles No Pressure and All The Time – saw the band topping the bill at festivals across Europe, Australia, and at home, including appearances at Falls Festival, Beyond The Valley, Lost Paradise, Beach Life, and Origin Fields. As part of their Australian run, The Kooks also played headline shows at Melbourne’s Festival Hall, Sydney’s Hordern Pavillion and Brisbane’s Eatons Hill Hotel.
Coming off the back of a punishing tour schedule, frontman Luke Pritchard vowed to take a bit of a breather. But instead, found himself right back in the studio.
“I started going to Berlin for three or four days at a time. I was really affected by Brexit and I wanted to make a bit of a statement by creating a European record,” he explains.
“We’re a European band, we practically lived out there and have so much love for Europe, so we wanted to keep that connection.”
Berlin has long been something of a creative Mecca for artists from all over the world and Pritchard found himself moving in those circles, meeting the collaborators he would work with on their behemoth of a sixth album, 10 TRACKS TO ECHO IN THE DARK. The period was one of work, inspiration and creativity as opposed to partying. “I wasn’t doing any drugs,” Pritchard attests. “It was more dive bars and a bottle of whiskey than Berghain.”
The environment quickly started to work its magic. “A lot of songwriters have found refuge in Berlin”, he says. “It’s a free place, it’s not so consumed by commerciality. I was looking for something a bit rawer, a little bit more minimal. Sometimes you just pick up these nuances somewhere. It’s not necessarily the people, it’s the place.”
Armed with a new mantra – to not overthink things and just make a record that he’d want to listen to at home, the ideas came freely and easily. Pairing up with Tobias Kuhn to co-write and produce the bulk of the record, their first writing session saw them pen intention-setting lead single, Connection, in just a few hours. Things were moving well with the pair laying down five tracks, but in March 2020, COVID put a stop to Pritchard’s European dream, forcing him to return home to the UK to finish the writing sessions over Zoom until Tobias was able to fly out to London and record with him and the rest of the band, Hugh Harris (lead guitar/synthesiser/bass) and Alexis Nunez (drums).
Getting married and becoming a father for the first time, we’re hearing from a new Pritchard – one whose demons are behind him and is optimistic about the future.
“I really hope that sense of inner peace comes across,” says Pritchard of the album’s resoundingly optimistic outlook.
“I really want to have fun with my life at this point. But also – it’s kinda a reflection of what I was feeling in real-time in a pre-and-post COVID world. I was reading a lot of sci-fi – like Philip K. Dick, Azimov and surreal stuff like Boris Vian – which is obviously really distracting from what’s going on in the world, but helped me be imaginative with the songs.”
Luke concludes, “In the pandemic I had a good amount of time to look over our albums and feel proper proud and lucky. This album is a real thank you to our fans for sticking by us for so long, we hope you love it.”