An attractive physical release complete with a second LP's worth of bonus material
Martin Leitch
11:00 2nd September 2021

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There's an old line of thought which suggests that widespread nostalgia works on a two-decade cycle; that, when entering a new era in our shared cultural existence, we'll inevitably find ourselves pulled by the inexorable temptations of the past.

Mulling it over, such a collective impulse really only makes sense; now that we're comfortably into the '20s, you'd be hard pushed to find many hankering for the good ol' days of the '10s—after all, what was really good about them? Even 2011, despite being a full decade in the rearview mirror by this point, remains fresh enough in mind for most of us that we can remember all the persistent concerns of that moment in time, both on a global and an individual level. The '00s, though? That's an era that seems somehow prehistoric in our age of social media burnouts and rampant fake news. No matter how illusory such impressions may or may not be, it's difficult not to look back at that particular decade as an invitingly innocent moment in time—to such an extent, in fact, that cultural nostalgia will inevitably regurgitate much of everything that was widely-loved during that ten-year stretch of time.

In light of that, it seems only appropriate that The Kooks' Inside In / Inside Out should reappear on shelves now; issued in celebration of its 15th anniversary, one of the most ubiquitous indie pop albums of the mid '00s is now available once again and, evidently eager to entice the band's long-term faithful, it's been reissued in tandem with a second LP's worth of bonus material.

This is certainly a wise tactic as Inside In / Inside Out's reappearance is perhaps unlikely to convert too great a number of youngsters to the Church Of Kook. The album, rich as it is in pop-punk salvos and chipper post-britpop rhythms, feel perhaps a little too of its time to entice many Gen Zedders into the fold but, for those listeners who harbour fond memories of the band when they were at the height of their popularity, this rerelease is sure to prove a treat. Issued as a double LP, the 15th anniversary edition is offered to the prospective buyer both as a standard black vinyl edition and as a red wax pressing. We're reviewing the latter here, but we'd imagine that the quality is consistent across both versions. 

The vinyl pressings themselves are nothing short of fantastic; in the case of our example both discs sit flat and warp-free upon the platter during playback and the LPs are likewise free of the visual imperfections which can frustratingly appear on all-too-many new releases. More important still is the excellent playback quality; the noise floors are low across all four sides on this set and both discs are similarly free of audible surface noise, popping or any of the other auditory anomalies that can mar inferior pressings.

The chosen shade of transparent red is also very attractive, lending this coloured vinyl edition a pleasing visual aesthetic. Speaking of presentation, the packaging and attention to detail in this 15th anniversary edition speaks of a real labour of love from all involved. The high-quality gatefold in which the whole package is presented looks fantastic; print quality is sharp and well-defined throughout and the cardstock from which the cover itself has been manufactured is of stout quality.

The records are both sleeved in printed inner sleeves adorned with images of the band themselves and, most impressively of all, a full-sized booklet is included as well—an addition which, boasting as it does, comprehensive and well-written liner notes, will doubtless delight long-standing fans of the band. Between the excellent presentation of this reissue, the crisp audio contained with the grooves of its two LPs and the wealth of bonus material offered here, this re-release of Inside In / Inside Out truly lives up to the standards promised by the "15th Anniversary Deluxe Edition" banner so proudly plastered upon its spine and back cover.


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