ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Music review: Kaiser Chiefs

Updated on July 3, 2011

It's been three long years since Ricky Wilson and the rest of his Kaiser Chiefs graced us with an album. They've kind of made up for their absence with 20 new tracks on their fourth long player The Future is Medieval. Not that you had to have all of them.

Embracing this brave digital age we find ourselves in, the band decided to let fans choose their favourite 10 tracks from the selection on offer, in a pick 'n' mix styley, and download them.

For those who struggle to make their own minds up, the band thankfully produced a physical release with 13 tracks in a nice regular order.

The first track they decided to plump with themselves is the recent single 'Little Shocks'. It's an impressive start, feeling like three songs rolled into one. It sounds influenced by Talk Talk a bit – the band that is, not the phone company – mostly in Wilson's vocals. It's busy, but not overly so. It's trademark Kaiser Chiefs and no better way to kick off a new album.

'Things Change' resonates with influences from Gary Numan. Its electronica purrs from your speakers, caressed with a thumping drum beat. It's a curious fellow, that's for sure, but not altogether unpleasant. It's bold and musically ugly, but works.

The guitars are more prominent in 'Long Way From Celebrating'. It has that energy you can often associate with the band, although they take it up a notch here.

Plod, plod, plod. That's what 'Starts With Nothing' does for about half of the song. The middle section sounds as if it's abducted by aliens during the sixties, before ending on its inevitable ploddy path. As curious as its middle is, there's just too much plodding around for our liking.

If we were going to put together our own version of this album, 'Out of Focus' wouldn't be part of our top ten. It's dipped in beige and doesn't do anything exciting. It sounds more threatening in places than it really is, but is shockingly harmless.

The testosterone is well and truly up for 'Dead or in Serious Trouble' thankfully. It might be the Hammond organ, but it wouldn't feel out of place in Kubrick's A Clockwork Orange. It's a slice of aggressive rock, tinged with a hint of retro.

The retro palette is used again, rather heavily, with 'When All is Quiet'. It's just too lightweight and sixties kitsch to be a worthwhile album track.

There's a nice bounce about 'Kinda Girl You Are'. Again it feels dated, but its rhythm section has a greater sense of urgency and purpose, giving it a well-needed lift.

With 'Man on Mars', its intro feels like you're stuck inside a ZX Spectrum, with some rather funky sounds floating around your head. They take a back seat somewhat as the track moves on, but it develops into a rather fine tune. And finally a catchy Kaiser Chiefs chorus to join in with during festival time.

More familiar musical ground comes in the shape of 'Child of the Jago'; it has a template of a Kaiser Chiefs song, but unfortunately it doesn't quite push all the right buttons. Googling Jago didn't prove that helpful either; it's the Cornish name for James apparently. Not that exciting then.

The band keep their synths plugged in for 'Heard it Break'. It has a darker edge to it, with an electro outfit on that wouldn't look out of place in the eighties. But in 2011, it doesn't quite fit.

With the end nearly in sight, 'Coming Up For Air' appears on the horizon. It's a slowish number, with a piano borrowed from Bruce Hornsby and his range, but at least it's used to good effect. It's the longest track on the album, but thankfully it's one of the better ones too.

Acting as the album's bookend is 'If You Will Have Me'. It sounds slightly different; this is probably due to the band's drummer Nick Hodgson taking over lead vocals. It's a sweet finale, with lush strings and acoustic strings being gently strummed.

Whether or not the band had this pick 'n' mix idea from the start or it was suggested to them late on is unclear, but the whole notion may well have unsettled the usual album-making process. There's something a little wishy washy about letting fans decide what tracks they want on their Kaiser Chiefs album. It's your bloody album gentlemen, so grow a pair and decide amongst yourselves.

Having listened to all of the initial 20 tracks, it's still difficult to say whether the right tracks made it to this CD release. If the band focused on just delivering a packaged 13 track album themselves, then perhaps The Future is Medieval wouldn't feel too much like the disappointment that it is.

Despite the obvious retro influences, the album as a whole is just too disjointed. Instead of being a great album with great tracks like their previous efforts (such as Off With Their Heads), it's just an OK album with a few great tracks on. Let's just hope they don't repeat this particular epoch in their history with future albums.


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • JBeadle profile image

      J Beadle 

      6 years ago from Midwest

      I love the Kaiser Chiefs. A harsh at times but fair review of their latest effort though on this hub.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)