The best of the Kooks’ material has teenage lust and drama written all over it. Singer Luke Pritchard wrote some of the songs that ended up on their debut recording Inside In/Inside Out when he was 15 or 16. “Me and my girl/ Are going out for some air/ And I will do my best/ Just to get under her dress.” The Kooks’ message has resonated with many, maybe because most of Pritchard’s material on that first CD centered on one of rock’s favored subjects, that of love lost.
The Kooks are British and they are young, and those are significant terms of endearment to a body of fans that has caused sales of the band’s two CDs to hit multiplatinum level. The Kooks came together as an art-school project and took their name from an old David Bowie song. Their videos are as rife with iconic rock images as their song structures are with iconic rock sounds trademarked eons ago by the Kinks, U2, and Duran Duran. As rock ages, distinctions blur. Power chords as old as dirt ring behind images of the Kooks walking in a crosswalk or the band performing live on a rooftop. If the Kooks are a hit machine, then Pritchard is the new maven of the three-minute pop song even though he writes in the road-tested style of the blues, meaning that verses repeat over 12 bars. It does not hurt that the Kooks have cultivated a look (post–mod-rocker) tailor made for paparazzi.
Will the Kooks saga last? The odds are not in their favor. Even though their songs are monumental hits at present, they also suggest impermanence. Best to take note of their supernova as it passes and enjoy it while it lasts.
THE KOOKS, House of Blues, Sunday, May 18, 7:30 p.m. 619-299-2583. $17.50.