Junk of the Heart is the third album from British indie band The Kooks. It was released in Europe on 9 September 2011, and in the United Kingdom on 12 September 2011 by Virgin Records. The first single, "Is It Me", was released on 4 September 2011 and the second single, "Junk of the Heart (Happy)" was released on 6 November 2011. This was the last album to feature original drummer Paul Garred.
In April 2009, The Kooks revealed to BBC's Newsbeat that they were working on their third studio album. Frontman Luke Pritchard told Newsbeat, "We kind of barricaded ourselves in the countryside for a few weeks—stayed at some friends' who have a cottage in Norfolk." By August 2010, initial recording sessions had been produced by Jim Abbiss (Arctic Monkeys, Kasabian, Adele), with songs such as "Weight of the World", "Winds of Change", "Window to the Soul", "Strange One", "Rainbow", "Carried Away" and "The Saboteur" in contention for the album. Pritchard stated that the band's sound had changed drastically with the presence of new bassist Peter Denton and drummer Chris Prendergast, both of whom had joined The Kooks during the Konk touring cycle.
However, after working on six songs with Abbiss, the band decided to part ways with the producer because "we felt that it wasn’t the right direction — we were going down a road we’d already gone down. We felt that we weren’t progressing," said Pritchard. After Pritchard voiced his concerns to Tony Hoffer, producer of the band's first two albums, Hoffer suggested that the band "needed to open new doors in terms of production and instrumentation." This inspired Pritchard to re-write and re-record the whole album with Hoffer as producer, after initial hesitation from the other band members who were concerned that working with Hoffer again would lead to repeating the sound of the first two albums.
The Hoffer sessions also saw the return of original drummer Paul Garred, who had previously left the band due to nerve damage in his left arm but had recovered sufficiently to be involved in the recording, if not the writing. "The way that we work is that we’ll write and record together, but he doesn’t feel comfortable on the road at the moment. But who knows in the future," said Pritchard regarding Garred's involvement with the band after the album's release. Prendergast resumed touring with the band leading up to the album's release in September 2011, while Garred was involved in promotional duties, including press photos, interviews, videos and live sessions. By October, Denny Weston Jr. - who played percussion during the album recording sessions - had replaced Prendergast as tour drummer and would retain the position until mid-2012, while Garred would leave the band permanently in November 2011. From summer 2012 to mid-2013, the remainder of the Junk of the Heart touring cycle would be completed with former Golden Silvers drummer Alexis Nunez, who would eventually become a full member of the band and be involved in their next studio album, Listen.
The album met with generally mixed reviews from critics and it wasn't as successful as their debut album. It also received mixed reactions from fans on its release. Spin gave the album a 6/10, calling the tracks "both their best and blandest yet." Reviewer Barry Walters added, "The middle of the road was always their destiny, it seems, and they arrive with blatantly pleasant but character-free ditties."
FMV Magazine's Dan Jenko commented that the second half of the album was a lot stronger than the first, saying that " It's frustrating that once again The Kooks’ obvious potential has seemingly not been fulfilled, but unlike their second effort, Konk, the record does have some redeeming qualities".