Kaiser Chiefs Duck

Album Review: “Duck” by Kaiser Chiefs

Last week, indie rock icons Kaiser Chiefs dropped their seventh studio album Duck. For this new project, the Leeds quintet have reunited with Ben H. Allen, the producer of the band’s fifth LP, Education, Education, Education & War. After some disappointment surrounding their sixth record Stay Together, the reemergence of this former partnership was music to my ears. So, without a further ado, let’s delve into the nuts and bolts of Duck. 

The fun tracks you need for summer

First of all, “People Know How to Love One Another” opens the album – an easily compelling summer banger. Kaiser Chiefs’ classic hits always manage to lift my spirits and get me going with their infectious swagger and cheekiness, but I lost that feel with Stay Together. Here, the band have certainly got their mojo back and this track is so refreshing. With a chorus that can get many a crowd singing, Duck‘s album opener will especially be loved live. “Golden Oldies” also has that potential. Crafted with a similar, first-instance enjoyment, this track has a bouncy sound and that instant gratification feel (in a good way). I say it’s good because if you’re attending a date on the Kaiser Chiefs tour next year, you want some new tracks like these that you can easily singalong to – especially while you’re waiting for the old hits to show up.

Some of Duck‘s tracks hold some beautiful synths. “Wait” has some fun with this, a track where the bass also shines. The chorus is especially great here, where the music erupts in a brassy galore with its soul touches. Also, Ricky Wilson’s vocals are particularly fluid and flow wonderfully around the instrumentation. Alternatively, “Record Collection” is a slick track with added funk. Written about the power the internet has over our lives, it also shines with its infectious synths. The futuristic touches, as well as the changes in tempo and vocals, bring a welcome flow to the track. This means that “Record Collection” possesses enough depth and first impact potential to be both loved on the first and fifth listen. I enjoyed it when it first released, and I still enjoy it now.

Kaiser Chiefs
Kaiser Chiefs at V Festival in 2014.

Continuing on with style, Ricky Wilson tells us to “never dream that the party is over” in “Lucky Shirt”. As a full summer pop firework, its big chorus shines with its catchy pop hooks and cheerful guitar riffs.

Where Kaiser Chiefs get sweet and reflective

After some big tracks, the album’s vibe then calms down and enters an earnest tone with “Target Market”, a cute love song told through business jargon. The sweet-as-candy guitar riffs add cute and summery tones to the track. The love songs continue with “Electric Heart”, a bright ode to that special person to lights up your life. Here, the drums help to create an accompanying rush.

On a note of reflection, “Northern Holiday charmingly gives us an insight into a constantly travelling band who decide it’s time to go home. The efforts to reconnect with your family and hometown are sweetly explored in partnership with the track’s tropical feel. Accordingly, the neat combination of escapism and trying to reconnect with your roots makes “Northern Holiday” a really sweet tune of thought.

Ricky Wilson performing live with Kaiser Chiefs in 2014.
Where Duck falls short

However, as much as I like a bunch of songs on this album, a couple of them fall short. “Don’t Just Stand There, Do Something” starts with a “I Love Rock ‘n’ Roll” sort of beginning only to lead to a disappointing and easily forgettable chorus. Setting itself as an improvement, “The Only Ones” has better progression and great energy but, sadly, is still just more noise in comparison to the album’s earlier tracks.

The final verdict

“Kurt vs Frasier (The Battle for Seattle)” is an appropriate closer to Duck with its sheer positivity. Its fun rhymes and the chorus’ uplifting spirits reminds us again of the album’s essence. I know some critics have regarded the album as rather lacking, and maybe in the cases of “Don’t Just Stand There” and “The Only Ones” it is, but we should appreciate the album for what it has rather than what it hasn’t. Sometimes, in cases like “Northern Holiday” and “Record Collection”, Duck offers time for meaningful reflection on life by a band close to celebrating the 15th anniversary of their debut album Employment. But a lot of the time, the album is essentially a fun, catchy and easily enjoyable record. So, if you want a record that doesn’t take itself too seriously and offers enough sunshine to put a smile on your face, then Duck is for you. Otherwise, jog on.

Kaiser Chiefs 2020 tour with Razorlight:

In 2020, all of your mid-noughties indie dreams come true when Razorlight support the Leed rockers around the UK! Check out the dates of available gigs below and click here to grab tickets. It’s going to be plenty of fun.

17th Jan 2020 – Motorpoint Arena, Nottingham.

18th Jan 2020 – The Spa (Bridlington)

20th + 21st Jan 2020 – Bonus Arena, Hull.

22nd Jan 2020 – Usher Hall, Edinburgh.

24th Jan 2020 – Empress Ballroom, Blackpool.

25th Jan 2020 – Arena, Birmingham.

27th Jan 2020 – Plymouth Pavilions, Plymouth.

28th Jan 2020 – Bournemouth International Centre, Bournemouth.

30th Jan 2020 – Brighton Centre, Brighton.

31st Jan 2020 – Motorpoint Arena, Cardiff.

1st Feb 2020 – O2 Arena, London.

Thanks for reading! With many more exciting releases to come, click here to keep up.

From Sophia with Love x 

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