x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 18 January 2018

Album review: Kaiser Chiefs – Education, Education, Education & War

The English post-punk band's sound hasn't grown up.

Kaiser Chiefs Education, Education, Education & War (Universal) ** ⋆⋆

You know where you are with Kaiser Chiefs. The English band pump out post-punk dirges with vocal lines and guitar melodies doubled up to reinforce the point that this is the part you sing along to. Perhaps this was distinctive in 2005, when the band won the Mercury Prize for their debut album, Employment – featuring the formidable if conventional Kaiser Chiefs staple I Predict A Riot – but it’s a sound that hasn’t grown up. The group have affected the north of England’s political swagger, even if the title, a laboured riff on the New Labour mantra, is a painful attempt at satire. This is hammered home on Cannons, where the British actor Bill Nighy offers us a prose poem from which we can just about glean that the Chiefs did not approve of the invasion of Iraq. The songs are a shade more detailed than lovers of their previous hit Ruby – famously repurposed during the 2010 World Cup as a hymnal to Wayne Rooney – might be comfortable with. Production values have also been hiked, which helps to disguise the simplicity of the songs’ structures. Times have changed, but the product hasn’t.