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Kaiser Chiefs: Duck

Kaiser Chiefs have returned on the scene with another new record and another step in the wrong direction. ‘Duck’ is a continuation from the Leeds lads’ last album, 2016’s ‘Stay Together’, and acts as confirmation that the mid-2000s heavyweights are now happy enough to churn out pallid and bland tunes for the kind of people that send videos of themselves drinking prosecco into Sunday Brunch.

The lead-up to ‘Duck’ actually started with some promise. Lead single ‘Record Collection’ has got a bit of vibrancy about it and some tidy lyrics, and when it comes to listening to the whole album it just about pokes its head up from underneath the dirge of forgettable songs.

The record gets off on the wrong foot from the very start. The first track ‘People Know How To Love One Another’ is incredibly irritating and pretty much entirely meaningless. It doesn’t exactly put you in the mood for sitting through the rest.

Kaiser Chiefs do tend to rely too much on pure energy to get them through, and whilst they have made plenty of creative material before, there’s just nothing doing instrumentally on ‘Duck’. 

There isn’t an interesting guitar part on the entire album, and the synths are much like eating some leftovers you froze six months ago; there’s some kind of distant flavour in there but it’s largely been washed out.

‘Target Market’ is a bit of an attempt at satire, *I think*, but ends up coming across as deeply weird, and then the rest of the track listing is almost entirely fluff and filler, culminating in the fawning “wasn’t the 90s so great guys?” tune ‘Kurt vs Frasier’ to cap it all off.

It’s nearly 15 years since the release of the Kaisers’ debut album ‘Employment’, and that’s a scarily long time. They’re not the only band from the golden age of indie on the radio to fail at staying relevant; very few have managed it at all. 

In all honesty though, it seems like they’ve given in. It’s a tough old game and a tiring one, so a few promotional TV appearances, some Radio 2 airplay and some crowd-pleasers for the over 40s must seem quite appealing after years at the coalface. 

Kaiser Chiefs are victims of time, and sadly it seems that they’re spent.