On their fifth set, Kinks-obsessed Brighton lads the Kooks take a step back from 2014's beat-driven Listen and balance the occasional big moments with confident restraint. Ideal for fans of late-era Arctic Monkeys, Kasabian, and Blossoms, Let's Go Sunshine isn't as cheerful as the title suggests: a mostly tame affair packed with patient groovers and some lush production, this is a full-album experience with a few punchy standouts. Forgoing the youthful cheek that defined their earlier releases, Sunshine can be a bit of a slog: at 15 tracks, it gets bogged down by the contemplative exercises, but resuscitated by the festival-sized anthems punctuated throughout. Coming closest to the excitement of past hits like "Junk of the Heart" and "Bad Habit," the rousing "Kids," "Pamela," and "Four Leaf Clover" escalate Sunshine to the summer festival mainstage with jerky rhythms and catchy choruses. Midtempo funk-groovers "All the Time" and "Chicken Bone" strut like Bowie, while the shimmering "Tesco Disco" and "Initials for Gainsbourg" draw from a similar psychedelic pool. Taken piecemeal, there's enough variety to excite and warrant repeat listens; however, pacing suffers when the momentum is cut by otherwise pleasant tracks like "Fractured and Dazed" and "Picture Frame." These issues aside, Let's Go Sunshine is a mature progression for the Kooks, one that points in the right direction for the band's evolution.
AllMusic Review by Neil Z. Yeung