Friday, 6 April 2018

Record Collection Random Choice (RCRC) - K: Kaiser Chiefs - Employment

Early 2000s weren't exactly the richest time.  The hedonism and feelgood-ishness of Britpop and Cool Britannia was dissipating.
Yes, there was some good stiff about, but it was sporadic, and a lot of it was a bit "instant" and sometime verging on the bland.
By 2004, the industry was changing - record sales were bottoming out and live touring was seen as the way forward.  Talent shows were taking hold, and the "alternative" was fast becoming a plethora of landfill indie sound-a-likes.

Into this appeared a bunch of Leeds lads with their debut album.
Nicking the best bits from the past, combining them into a high octane, devil may care-ish slab of fun came the debut album from The Kaiser Chiefs ('Employment').

Their mantra is evident right from the start - sounding quintessentially British, and sounding like (sort of) XTC meets Britpop, with a dollop of Mod Revival in there somewhere, and a touch of The Beach Boys going on.
No clever chords, structures, time signatures - just simple songs with simple lyrics delivered with passion, humour and a bit of hedonism thrown in.

If I was writing and publishing Year End lists in 2005 (I probably was, just not the "publishing" bit), then this would be somewhere near the top.
Listening again (and it's probably been at least 10 years since an "all the way through" listen), I forgot how much this album makes me smile - there's just a joie de vivre / forget everything and be entertained feel about the whole thing.
The singles (5 of the 12 tracks) remain well known, but there is enough about the remaining 7 tracks to be potential singles too - short, sharp, and thoroughly enjoyable.
Subsequently, I don't think they ever hit the same heights again - yes, there were some good tracks there, but never really hit the spot the way 'Employment' did

Everyday I Love You Less and Less

And if you're going to have a "Millstone Round Your Neck" song in your armoury, this aint a bad one to have:

I Predict A Riot


  1. Like a lot of bands from that era, they made the mistake of trying too hard to be contemporary after this debut: and as contemporary largely meant "dull" in the noughties, their subsequent albums suffered as a result. I'll always have a soft spot for the Kaisers though: your summary was pretty much spot on.

  2. Let us not forget the delicious irony of The Kaiser Chiefs - if they were perceived (possibly only by me) as an antidote to the homogenisation of music by TV Talent Shows, then consider what Ricky Wilson is doing now ...

    1. Anything he can to prolong his career...