Kooks Inside In/Inside Out

For every sappy pop album that comes out of England there’s one exciting, rock’n’roll disc that UK critics can’t get enough of. One of the British press’s newest darlings are the Kooks, an energetic foursome who sound like Hot Hot Heat and Supergrass rolled into one. Their debut disc won’t have the international impact that Franz Ferdinand’s first effort did, but their straightforward melodic pop is a welcome break from the new wave revival. Their debut is short, but animated and songs such as "You Don’t Love Me” — an exuberant Walking Eyes-like rocker — will keep listeners hooked throughout the band’s 14 songs. A few delicate moments such as opener "Seaside” and "She Moves in Her Own Way” show off the group’s diversity. The Kooks have a lot more left in them, but let’s hope the UK press doesn’t destroy them first. (Virgin)