Education, Education, Education & War
Kaiser Chiefs’ fifth album is proof that the veteran band can survive the departure of drummer and chief songwriter Nick Hodgson. The laughs you hear during “Misery Company” could be the sound of the band shaking off the loss with defiant pride. New drummer Vijay Mistri is only expected to keep time here, so it’s up to singer Ricky Wilson to make sure the band has new songs for him to wander the stage. The opening tunes sport a grandness that means power chords, walls of sound, and choruses that leave plenty of opportunities for the entire audience to sing or hum along with the indelible hooks. Of course, how well these instantly catchy tunes hold up over the long haul is for the long haul to determine, but “The Factory Gates,” “Coming Home,” and “Ruffians on Parade” all carry their Britpop credentials in their front pocket. Even when they slow down the pace for “Meanwhile Up in Heaven,” it’s with an ear for the hook. Kaiser Chiefs are aware that their moment of cultural dominance has passed. It’s all the more reason to try harder to unite a grand audience behind their songs.