Veteran Leeds quintet Kaiser Chiefs have swapped indie for sincere synthpop
You couldn’t accuse Kaiser Chiefs of stagnating with their sixth album ‘Stay Together’. The worst thing a veteran band can do is pump out similar albums of decreasing quality – a route the Leeds quintet have clearly resolved to avoid. Equally, they’ve ventured so far into alien territory it’s hard to see much of the gobby, eyeliner-smeared indie band that won fans with tunes like 2004’s ‘Oh My God’.
Perhaps we shouldn’t be surprised: Kaiser Chiefs have been enjoying wider renown since frontman Ricky Wilson joined The Voice as a judge in 2013.Trimming away the spikier aspects of their music is the logical next step.
Most of their past albums had rebellious or political overtones – 2008’s ‘Off With Their Heads’, or their most recent, 2014’s ‘Education, Education, Education & War’ – but the theme of ‘Stay Together’ is, says the album’s press release, “monogamy”. “There’s a hole in my soul that can only be filled by you”, yelps Wilson on ‘Hole In My Soul’, from under a torrent of X Factor-style violins.
‘Parachute’, the album’s first single, shoots for voguish, vaguely tropical production via Kylie and Girls Aloud hitmakers Xenomania, but is a tad sappy. Wilson’s pop vocal is much more convincing on the album’s bangers, ‘Press Rewind’ and ‘Happen In A Heartbeat’. But it’s on ‘High Society’ – a strutting falsetto oddity – that the frontman unveils his roguish side and proves they’re still the same loveable band after all.
Record label: Kaiser Chiefs/Caroline International
Release date: 07 Oct, 2016