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Album Review: Kaiser Chiefs – Kaiser Chiefs’ Easy Eighth Album

3 min read

On November fourth, 2022, Kaiser Chiefs released How 2 Dance, their first for V2 Records. This song eventually became their first release of their eighth album, the conveniently titled Kaiser Chiefs’ Easy Eighth Album, two(ish) years later.  Whilst they’re not exactly the new kids on the block (literally or figuratively) – almost 20 years in the biz, a slew of stadium anthems and a combination of success and longevity that is seldom rivalled in the music industry – the latest Kaiser offering to the altar of the music gods suggested a fresher, funkier sound – with production credits on their eighth album to Amir Amor, of Rudimental fame, and legend Nile Rodgers.

Opening proceedings on the funkier foot, Feeling Alright clearly sets out a determination to showcase elements of 80’s synth-pop, but the song doesn’t really go anywhere, and I cannot help but create a mash up Taylor Swift’s Anti-Hero with the post-chorus beat in my Prefrontal Cortex (when you hear it, you’ll know what I mean).  This is followed by Beautiful Girl Frantic which is pleasant enough, but for me the song lacks depth, and I can’t shake the idea that lead vocalist Ricky Wilson is singing in a put-on Mancunian accent – I can’t see this one will be performed much during the Kaiser’s upcoming tour.  The first single to be released from the album, How 2 Dance, was produced by funk legend Nile Rodgers and continues those funky vibes.  This will probably be the biggest track on the LP, and you can see this being permanently added to the Kaisers tour set list for years to come.  Hak Baker adds some cockney tones to The Job Centre Shuffle in a distorted throwback which has a touch of CAKE’s The Distance about it, and is followed by orchestral-backed up tempo pop-rock track Burning in Flames.

With a baseline that feels like it’s been taken directly from Marc Bolan’s back catalogue (or Goldfrapp’s… take your pick), Reasons to Stay Alive has the feel of a track that’s come straight from Kaiser Chiefs circa 2005… and this would be my favourite track on the album.  Sentimental Love Songs has a great instrumental break but otherwise is forgettable, whereas second single release Jealousy, whilst quite upbeat melodically, I feel misses a beat lyrically, where it could have gone to a far darker, more melancholy place with regards to covering the subject of the title.  Noel Groove does sound like it was written by Mr Gallagher himself, and is clearly a homage to the Oasis frontman – its done well, and I’d say is another one of my favourites on the LP.  Rounding off proceedings we have The Lads, an ode to best mates from childhood to adulthood.

The ten tracks of Kaiser Chiefs’ Easy Eighth Album are a statement of intent from a band who look to move into a funkier, hook-pursuing direction.  This quest to infuse more funk to their sound has come at a price in my opinion – a lack of festival anthems and sing along belters that the band have built their name around.  The flow of the album is a little disjointed, as there is an element of searching around looking for a mesh that works, however it would be remiss to overlook that there are flashes of Kaiser greatness throughout the album, and that on occasion they do strike gold – whether their fan base can look past the style shift from ‘classic Kaiser’ and see this, is a different matter.