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 drummer Paul Garred, as he was replaced in 2012 by Alexis Nunez. The song "Mr. Nice Guy" appeared in the 2012 video game Sleeping Dogs.
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." Pritchard recently revealed that over two weeks there, the band only managed to make one new song: "Eskimo Kiss" (Track 11). Drummer Paul Garred left the band in late 2009, due to a nerve problem in his arm, and was temporarily replaced by Chris Prendergast for live shows. However, Paul returned for the recording sessions in late 2010, while continuing to not tour with the band, as Pritchard recently stated his injury "turned into a psychological thing". After hiring and firing new producer Jim Abyss (Arctic Monkeys, Kasabian, Adele) despite having some "really good sessions" together, the band returned to old Producer Tony Hoffer who gave them a "new direction" and they recorded the album in a more contemporary style to previously. In January 2011, Pritchard announced that they had recorded fourteen new tracks. The band announced via social media that they finished the final touches on 30 March. Finally, the album name was announced as Junk of the Heart (The title of the opening track) and tracklist details released, with a release date of 12 September 2011 for the United Kingdom. The album was produced by Tony Hoffer. The first single taken from the album is titled "Is It Me" in Europe and "Junk of the Heart" elsewhere.
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".
Weight of the World, Winds of Change, Window to the Soul, Strange One, Rainbow, Carried Away and The Saboteur were among many contenders to be put on the album, however many of them came from earlier recording sessions with Jim Abyss (Arctic Monkeys, Kasabian, Adele). Despite having some "really good sessions" with Abyss, in the end they went back and "found a new direction" with old producer Tony Hoffer and decided to scrap the earlier sessions. Despite this, Luke brought in one of these songs, "The Saboteur", to BBC1 Zane Lowe's radio program in an interview and released it as a free single on its own. Although this song "didn't quite fit" on the album it was eventually added as a bonus track on the iTunes album version, along with "Carried Away", which came from the Tony Hoffer sessions.