It’s never a dull moment being a fan of The Kooks. It feels like they’ve been nonstop touring as of late, playing New York five times in eleven months and traveling worldwide for hundreds of other performances. They never take more than three years between new records, and often even less time than that when it comes to EPs or singles. In true form, 2015 sees the release of their remix album Hello, What’s Your Name?, right on the heels of 2014’s Listen. On it, some of the coolest names in electronic and indie rock reimagine the standout tracks from their fourth studio album.
We open with the Jack Beats remix of “Creatures of Habit”, a slowed-down version of The Kooks’ newest single that premiered only two weeks ago. With wide chasms of sound and plenty of delay, this song focuses on what’s going on between the verses and underneath the lyrics. The Apexape remix of “Bad Habit” is similar, with low rumbling tones and hushed vocals. The most notable track is “Murdered & Downer”, a mash-up of “Murderer” and “Down” that stretches over fourteen minutes but only manages to speed up during the latter half. The first time we hear the line “Jesus is my Buddha, and Buddha is Muhammad”, it’s stripped down, standing bare and beautiful amidst a sea of computerized instruments.
Surprisingly, or perhaps not so surprisingly, this album isn’t bass-heavy or overpowering in the way you’d expect a remix album to be. The original songs are likely more danceable and musically charged than their remixed counterparts. It seems like The Kooks recognize their position as acoustic (or at least guitar-driven) indie rockers and intend to stay that way, reimagined or not. Atlas Genius‘ version of “Forgive & Forget” is probably closest to what comes to most people’s minds when they think of a remix, with Luke Pritchard’s voice sounding like it’s reverberating through a giant arena. Needles to say, the sound is infectious.
From there we descend into drum-laden remixes of the last three tracks, including “Westside” and the closing “Are We Electric”. Frank de Wulf and Kove, among others, have provided us with fresh takes on some of The Kooks’ best work, taking their music to places fans could have scarcely thought possible. It’s thanks to them that we’ll all be able to breathe a little easier while waiting for the UK band’s next fully realized album, playing these new mixes hundreds of times to hold us over.