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Kaiser Chiefs - Employment
by Eric Bodrero

The Kaiser Chiefs are yet another band to be produced out of the U.K. with that alternative eighties flair, using catchy pop rhythms and jangly guitar hooks in short, controlled bursts of energy the likes of such bands as Franz Ferdinand, Bloc Party and The Futureheads. While not quite as captivating as the debut albums from any of the aforementioned bands, the Kaiser Chiefs debut Employment still creates an amazing if not slightly exaggerated and goofy experience.

Getting their name from the top football team in South Africa, this five-piece outfit from Leeds, England relies on heavy guitar and keyboard transaction while often every member of the band can be heard shrieking and screaming their lungs flat, which makes for a very dynamic, if at times, annoying sound. Thankfully, all five members’ voices harmonize and blend together rather well.

Bass hooks from talented Simon Rix lead each song into multiple intricate levels, and Ricky Wilson’s vocals are truly dynamic in both range and pure volume. Listening to Ricky belt it out on “Na Na Na Na Naa”, simplistic lyrics like “it does not move me / it’s not the kind of thing that I like”, suddenly turns into a complicated algorithm for the soul, while “Time Honoured Tradition” sounds like it was ripped straight from Freur’s back catalog, with forewarning lyrics such as “stay alive until you die and that is the end of you / you cannot cheat the reaper’s reap and that is the end of that”, boding a “what-you-hear-is-what-you-get” mindset.

By the time you reach the end of the disk you feel like you’ve run a 50-mile marathon; the record has climaxed to a slow crawl, with “Team Mate” serving as a post-race cool down. While Employment is full of energy, style, and charisma, and the songs are catchy, the instruments have an innovative sound, and the band reeks of superstardom, perhaps what the Kaiser Chiefs need is something to scrape them from the ceilings every two or three songs or so to keep them grounded, since almost every song sounds like it was recorded after drinking two dozen cups of coffee. However, the Kaiser Chiefs have something reasonably special here, with a whole slew of songs with the potential for a single. Here’s to hoping the Kaiser Chiefs improve upon this formula for their inevitable sophomore set. And start including decaf in their diets. 

Kaiser Chiefs - Employment
Label: Universal

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