Kaiser Chiefs take stab at popularity with new album

2/5 pitchforks

Kaiser Chiefs released its fifth album, “Education, Education, Education & War" on Tuesday. Throughout the LP, the British new wave group was constantly trying to say, "Please like us again."

The power pop group from across the pond had moderate success in the U.S. back in 2007 when it released its most popular album “Employment.” The semi-political band struck a chord with indie fans with their quasi-hit, “I Predict A Riot.” The song was a poor man’s version of an old Clash single but had some traction with American fans.

And that was about the dismal height of the band’s success in America. It had one more flare up of attention with the single “Ruby” off the second album, “Yours Truly, Angry Mob.”



Ever since the days of the riot song, Kaiser Chiefs have been trying to regain some kind of elevated popularity — add two more albums and it has arrived at its latest LP.

Yet “Education, Education, Education & War,” has some potentially catchy, boot-stomping tracks that will bob the heads of the remaining activists still camping out on Wall Street. But other than those few niche fans, Kaiser Chiefs will not regain any American fame with the release of its new album.

From the get-go of the album, Kaiser Chiefs is looking to connect with someone. The band has been known to make political stances in songs much like the old British new wave groups by which the group is clearly influenced.

The first track of the album, “The Factory Gates,” is an awkward attempt to commiserate with the working class.

“Day after day / You make your way through the factory gates / And what you make on the factory floor / You take straight to the company store.”

The simple rhythms and repetitive lines in the chorus are a bad habit for the group throughout most of the album. Although this is not only the case with its latest effort. It has been a knock against the Brits since the band’s inception.

Nothing has changed with its fifth album's debut. Another example of a weak Kaiser Chiefs chorus is a track midway through the album called “Ruffians On Parade,” where the chorus is literally, “The ruffians are on parade / Woah woah.”

The only hope for some success on the album is their single “Coming Home.” It has made small ripples through the alternative indie radio stations but not a big splash.

It primarily has potential, because it is different from the regular quick beat of the majority of Kaiser Chiefs' songs plus its slowed-down more melodic tone is way more radio friendly.

The single, of course, features simple and repetitive lyrics. Although lead singer Ricky Wilson takes a risk vocally during the last line of the chorus and tries to reach an octave higher and holds it. The song also features a feel-good guitar solo that is a lot lighter than most other solos on the album.

“Coming Home” might turn some heads of committed power pop fans, but the glory days are probably behind Kaiser Chiefs.

Reach the reporter at ehubbard@asu.edu or follow him on Twitter @Edmund_Hubbard

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