Kaiser Chiefs’ continue to prove they’re an indie staple. But have they pushed further than that on their latest full-length venture, Duck. They’ve been a festival favourite and British icons for years. Can they reach new heights?
We’re a far cry from where we were when in the Employment and Yours Truly, Angry Mob days. Indie landfill is (sadly) over. We’re in a fancy era of streaming making artists practically no money, and Ricky Wilson has found himself as a TV competition judge on The Voice. And it shows.
Does Kaiser Chiefs’ Duck hit new heights?
Duck is a classically indie album, but in the sense that it tries to be one. It’s a success in that, but it feels overall, a little empty, and a little purpose built rather than being an inspired collection of songs. That’s not to say Duck doesn’t boast a couple of bangers. Lead single ‘Record Collection’, not to be confused with Mark Ronson‘s track, co-written by Kaiser Chiefs’ former member Nick Hodgson, is a strong one. It’s a vibrant track that harkens back to the golden days of indie, balanced out with a dash of more topical lyrics. However, this begs the question of whether it’s been written purposely for appeal. That’s not what we aim for from an indie rock band. However, activism and politics in music is something we really need in this climate.
‘Target Market’ is a slow indie track, one of those hugs within music. It feels like what we’d want from Kaiser Chiefs in a sweet and intriguing four and a half minutes. That’s where the heart of the album is, in the tracks that scream nostalgia. That’s why ‘Golden Oldies’ is one of the strongest tracks on the album. It’s a cacophony of relatable quips that will resonate with all listeners, especially those who are feeling the effects of age. It’s going to make for a fun experience on tour and at festivals for sure. It has that classic cult indie track nature to it, from riff to riff, choir to choir.
An indie record for dark times
In bleak times, an upbeat indie album is a breath of fresh air, songs talking about love in weird and wonderful metaphors are more welcome than ever, making Duck a pleasant reprise from the current landscape. A massively different one to the days of ‘Ruby’ and ‘I Predict a Riot’.
Overall, Duck will be a pleaser for longtime Kaiser fans, but might struggle to convert newer listeners. Although, it’s damn impressive that the Kaiser Chiefs’ can still have us hooked on their every move whilst being seven albums in. Many of the bands who were coming up in the same era have fell to the wayside, and it’s a testament to their talent that they can still give us big collections of music. Even if Duck falls just above average.
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