These Brighton, England, fops start their debut with a slow, pensive stroll and by tune No. 3, they've hit those clipped Motown beats, trashed-transcendent guitars, and droll vox in stride. Then they rev it up a tick with "Eddie's Gun," as perfect a pop piece as has been dropped this year. Despite singer Luke Pritchard's recent "misquoted" quips that all these post-Strokes Brit boy bands (Arctic Monkeys, Kaiser Chiefs, Futureheads) will be "bigger than Britpop," the best songs here ("Sofa Song," "If Only") nevertheless have the greasy charm of prime Supergrass.
Elsewhere, there are scruffed vocal melodies and acoustic-flecked smooches ("Jackie Big Tits," "She Moves in Her Own Way") that'll guarantee lass-action. But even the most gullible eyelash-batters might grow weary of the innocuous bad-date lyrics especially if they notice that the Ziggy-inspired stuff was probably copped from Spacehog. That being slagged, the Kooks have oodles of effortless musicianship and a jaunty vibe that Brit blokes have apparently been taught during grade-school detention hall since the days of the Oasis/Blur feud. Eric Davidson