Album review: Kaiser Chiefs – Duck

Oh my God, I can't believe it: Kaiser Chiefs are back with their seventh album.

Oh my God, I can't believe it: Kaiser Chiefs are back with their seventh album. - Credit: Archant

Ricky Wilson and his wholesome collective of jolly moshpit makers are back for a seventh LP

Few people probably spend much time thinking of the Kaiser Chiefs these days. And if they ever do, they're almost certainly not thinking of them as a great album band. But these millennial indie popsters, known for the crowd pleasers I Predict A Riot, Ruby and Oh My God have somehow kept their major label backing despite not having any single bothering the UK chart since 2014 (Coming Home, from their fifth LP Education, Education, Education & War).

Now on album number seven, Ricky Wilson and chums have apparently sought the sanctuary of simplistic, festival-friendly singalongs that last bore fruit a decade ago.

And so the fist-pumping, tub-thumping opener People Know How To Love One Another is dressed with bright brass and tooled-up for summer deployment - simple enough for any festival's sunburnt perma-drunks to sing along to before the final chorus.

Barring the dusky, ill-advised '80s yacht rock ballad Target Market, the disposable pop on Duck is consistently urgent, bouncing around like a beer bottle on a moshpit floor - and maintaining such momentum across songs with their own identity is no mean feat.

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Wait is built on a classic, sunny soul guitar motif with layers of trumpet, Motown tambourine and drum rolls that could have had Mark Ronson's fingerprints all over it, while lead single Record Collection rides on a taut, buzzy bassline strut and fat strafes of synths.

It's a lot of fun, but also serves to show up other tunes like The Only Ones as poorer relations, blessed with neither memorable riff nor catchy singalong fluff.

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Lucky Shirt's skew-whiff synth, languorous soft guitar and the preposterous conviction of Wilson ("I'm not cashin' my chips 'til they're all gone / Kissing her on the lips 'fore the end of the next song") makes for a briefly diverting nugget, as does his lyrical patter in Electric Heart.

Overall, this is a hit-and-miss fistful of guitar pop that's fun for a little while, at least.

Rating: 2/5 stars

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