Watch out 2007! If these storming new songs are anything to go by we predict another riot
If 2005 was the year they conquered the planet, 2006 was the year Kaiser Chiefs relaxed into the role of world-beating pop untouchables. How can we tell? Well, if imitation is the greatest form of flattery then plain copying must be close to worship and this was the year the Kaisers saw their efforts applauded by their peers, having tracks reverentially covered by everyone from The Dresden Dolls to Girls Aloud to, er, Take That.
But tonight, midway through their final jaunt of the year through Europe, it’s the future on their minds as they’re road-testing tracks earmarked for the new album, due next February. That’s not to say that tonight the past will be brushed aside – on the contrary, not only do we get the same old stage antics they’ve been peddling for yonks (watch Ricky risk life and limb clambering around assorted building fixtures! Sing along with your “woah oh oh”s and “na-na-na”s!) but from the start, with stomping new tune ‘Angry Mob’, this is less a colour-by-numbers Kaisers show than a glorious knees-up in honour of two years Parva surely never saw coming.
Still, while we bounce around to ‘Everyday I Love You Less And Less’ and ‘Saturday Night’ like crack-crazed marionettes, we can’t help but worry about this new album palaver. What with Peanut sporting alarmingly Brandon Flowers-esque facial hair, will the Kaisers do a Killers and churn out a homage to The Boss? What if they’re going to do an MCR, passing themselves off as the love children of Billy Corgan and Freddie Mercury with an LP of cheery bombast about cancer, death and marching bands?
Well, it was never likely, was it? As Ricky gives us a wink and garbles: “This is a new song – you should know it by the second chorus!” and bursts into sure-fire future hit ‘Heat Dies Down’, we’re in familiar territory. Storming in with the same kind of charging insurgency that fuels tracks like ‘Na Na Na Na Naa’ it’ll surely have grown metallers launching their Yorkshire puddings into the air with joy come next festival season. “You like it?” gurns Ricky, smug as a Bono self-portrait. “You ain’t heard nothing yet!”
And the beauty of it is; he’s right. They launch into ‘Ruby’, which at first doesn’t seem like much – a musical bag of pick’n’mix which morphs from hard-rock riffage to ambling lyrics declaring “I can never pretend/That romance is dead” – but then threatens to pip ‘Modern Way’ as contender for a new national anthem. It’s so catchy that Nick Hodgson can be found backstage still singing it two hours later. The souped-up firecracker that is ‘Didn’t Expect Any Of This’, meanwhile, is such a sure thing it makes ‘I Predict A Riot’ look like an industrial metal cover of ‘Danny Boy’.
Although some of the newer tracks (see ‘Retirement’, which tonight comes across as a debilitated variation of ‘…Riot’ and little else) need a touch of fine-tuning, that’s a minor quibble. Not many people thought ‘Oh My God’ was much cop when it got its first run either, and we all learnt our lesson there, didn’t we?
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Oh yes – 2005 and 2006 may have seemed like particularly good years for the Kaiser Chiefs, but tonight is jam-packed with reasons to believe that, to paraphrase Ricky Wilson, we ain’t seen nothing yet.