Album Review: Kaiser Chiefs - 'Duck'

Kaiser Chiefs are well known for their Northern soul/ indie rock sound and songs such as ‘Ruby’ and ‘I Predict A Riot’; now, having just announced their upcoming tour, the band are back to grace our ears with their newest album, Duck. The record opens with the already released song ‘People Know How To Love One Another’, which seems extremely fitting for our current social climate as it indirectly raises the topics of acceptance and having respect for each other as human beings. As an opening track, it is upbeat and is best described as a socialist’s bop. ‘Golden Oldies’ follows and is a similar style to the previous song, capturing the essence of not caring what people think and just living life to the fullest; an easily forgotten sentiment in times like these.

In contrast, ‘Wait’ has a real Northern soul feel to it, with lashings of synth and a much faster beat. It manages to juxtapose our concept of waiting as something long and drawn-out with the fast-paced tune. Kaiser Chiefs do a really good job ensuring that the two different sounds don’t clash, but rather complement each other by including elements of funk. ‘Target Market’ is one of the slower songs on the album and continues with a political yet romantic vibe – the lyrics make reference to someone being part of the singer’s “demographic”, making them the “target market” when trying to impress.

‘Don’t just Stand There, Do Something’ sounds like something which could have been part of the Arctic Monkeys’ album AM. From this, it is clear that Kaiser Chiefs are wanting to reach out to a slightly younger indie audience, although the track still helps to carry through a political message. ‘Record Collection’ was another of the tracks released ahead of the album and is yet another musing on our society, exploring how we are all constantly connected in a world which revolves around technology. The song is full of synth, funk and soul which seems to be a re-occurring theme in the album.

‘The Only Ones’ comes across as a song more typical of Kaiser Chiefs, being a mixture of husky vocals from Ricky Wilson, synth and a head banging sound thanks to the drums and guitars. ‘Electric Heart’ is equally uplifting and has a strong beat thanks to a combination of the repeated hand clapping which holds the track together, and sounds of an electric guitar peeping throughout. ‘Kurt vs Frasier (The Battle For Seattle)’ seems fitting for the last song on the album. It is full of up-beat, up-lifting reminiscence – definitely a toe tapping song.

Clearly, Kaiser Chiefs’ new album is very much engaged in the political and social scene of the United Kingdom; it is easy to become overwhelmed by the political turmoil, and it’s not just on the TV anymore either – it’s increasingly in the music that we listen to. Being 15 years into the game, it seems the band wanted this album’s audience to not just be one demographic; they wanted to create a sense of inclusivity which is often hard to provide in the rock and indie scene. With Duck, Kaiser Chiefs are providing us with something quite unique when it’s broken down – a carefully crafted compilation of Northern soul, synth, funk and indie-rock.