tue 20/08/2019

CD: Kaiser Chiefs – Duck | reviews, news & interviews

CD: Kaiser Chiefs – Duck

CD: Kaiser Chiefs – Duck

Ricky Wilson and co won't silence the critics, but their fans may drown them out

Duck: likeable light entertainment

Music can rile in a way that other artistic forms tend not to. It’s perfectly possible for people to take a dislike to someone they’ve never met based on no more than a Spotify playlist. Take any successful band and you’re guaranteed to find people who despise them for the heinous crime of making pop music that they don’t much care for. 

Kaiser Chiefs are one such band and the ire they draw from some quarters intensified after frontman Ricky Wilson’s tenure on TV talent show The Voice.  All of a sudden indie credibility – whatever that is – was out of the window and he was pilloried for the crime of turning in a decent performance as likeable light entertainer. 

And likeable light entertainment is an apt phrase when it comes to the band’s latest offering, Duck. Hailed as a return to their roots, it does have a certain spiky fizz about it, though nothing that quite sings “nailed-on hit” like their early singles. 

Upbeat optimism has recently been co-opted as a replacement for policy by UK politicians, but “People Know (How to Love Each Other)” has the feel of a real manifesto statement, all brassy stabs and stompy back line. It’s precision-engineered for big, outdoor venues full of goodwill and cider. Similarly, “Golden Oldie” patrolling the unlikely territory of male broodiness boasts big, anthemic balls and a kind of Squeeze-lite kitchen sink drama about it. 

Whether Wilson has his mind on fatherhood or not, there’s a personal feel to Duck. “Wait” deals with body image while fusing a northern soul bassline with quirky electronica. And, although the words could do with the red pen of a judicious edit on occasion, we live in an age where the most defiantly prosaic lyricists are hailed as poets, so I’ll happily give a pass on that. 

“Record Collection” is built around a catchy pop dance hook, hampered and held hostage by an unremarkable chorus. Honestly, there are 16 bars here practically begging to be released and remixed – someone give Crooked Man the stems, for God’s sake. 

While “The Only Ones”, “Lucky Shirt” and “Electric Heart” resolutely play the part of album filler with a stoic dedication to the noble art of padding, Duck does feel like a more substantial release than the Kaiser Chiefs have given us of late. It won’t appease the band’s critics by a long chalk, but diehard fans will see it as a return to form. Score draw.

@jahshabby

It’s precision engineered for big, outdoor venues full of goodwill and cider

rating

Editor Rating: 
3
Average: 3 (1 vote)

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