For Those Who Like 80s Music Now

1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 Rating 73% (6 Votes)

Kaiser Chiefs may have been cursed with the early success of their first release in 2005, Employment, in that all subsequent releases are judged against that successful debut.  Education, Education, Education & War, released in  March 2014 and the first of their albums not to feature all the original members, may have more than comparison to Employment to hinder its success with listeners.

Nick Hodgson (drums, occasional guitar, backing vocals) left the group and there is no question such incidents can do things to band chemistry, but he has been replaced by Vijay Mistry of Club Smith and Mistry's backing is excellent.  So it is not the personnel change that limits this album; Ricky Wilson’s voice is as strong as ever and  Baines, Rix, and White are solid as usual.  And it is not all the songs either; many have that familiar power pop, New Wave, teaspoon of punk sound that their fans love.  It’s that mix of familiar and new in perfect proportion on songs such as “Misery Company” that verifies Kaiser Chiefs as one of the best bands of the last decade. So what could possibly be wrong?

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Well, it is consistency that is missing in some instances; the album is not all of the same calibre and quality, though that’s common enough in the music world. The best of the songs are very good—and the next tier is darn good.  “Coming Home” and “Meanwhile Up In Heaven” prove that the sound of the early 80s can be reworked to produce great tunes.  Foremost on the list of the other side of the scale is “Cannons,” not a bad song until it breaks into spoken word.

I’m never sure why artists choose the spoken word on albums.  As the years pass the spoken part becomes a trite, peculiar appendage to the music.  It does suit the theme of war, but it doesn’t suit the album.  Hopefully the listeners will hang around for the fine conclusion, “Roses.”



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