The Kaiser Chief’s fifth album returned this British indie rock band to the top of the UK charts for the second time in seven years, having also enjoyed Top 10 placings with their previous two releases.
A top selling disc perhaps vindicates the band’s decision to carry on following the departure of Nick Hodgson, the now ex-drummer and one of the founding members of the group. His assertion that The Kaiser Chiefs were finished has possibly come back to bite him but, on the other hand, sales and popularity do not not necessarily equate to quality.
Education, Education, Education & War references an old Tony Blair speech and some may opine that this Kaisers’ disc is a relic of his era. Ricky Wilson and co have certainly been among the leading lights of recent indie-pop and could quite easily fill the largest of music venues.
Quite honestly, I don’t see this changing as the album recalls many of the group’s past acclamations. Lead vocalist Wilson’s stint as the-boy-next-door on The Voice UK will also do no harm in bringing new mainstream Saturday night supporters into the band’s “club”.
I guess you could call me one of those as, having listened to the album a couple of times, I enjoy tracks such as Misery Company which delivers an energetic, marching back beat to a commentary on social ills, punctured by a howling screech of a noise.
Bows & Arrows seems as if it is a derivative of Misery…, a story of fraternity, with wild drumming from the band’s newest member, Vijay Mistry.
The attitude towards conflict and anti-war sentiment are enhanced by this powerful instrumentation, while Ricky Wilson’s stronger vocals have something to prove. As before, there’s an anthemic, left-wing commentary throughout the material. This may recruit new followers of the Kaisers, but I believe it will also continue to engage those fans who have invested both in the band’s ideals and Brit-Pop sensibilities.
The first single, Coming Home, is very much built around an anthem of a chorus. Something that I can imagine would go down well in a stadium environment. It was a sensible decision to release this one as the lead: it’s radio-friendly and an appropriate aperitif to a highly satisfying album.
As a taster, The Kaiser Chiefs have released a video which contains short clips of each of the ten songs featured on the album.