Kaiser Chiefs – Duck

It’s a record that’s all set to go big or go home.
Label: Polydor
Released: 26th July 2019
Rating: ★★★★

Look, there’s no beating around the bush, it’s quite possible that the mid-00s aren’t actually cool anymore. Even as The Killers headline Glastonbury, that mid-decade scene of indie dominance feels further and further from the truth of 2019 with each passing musical trend. And yet, in so many ways, Kaiser Chiefs’ grip on the zeitgeist was never actually based on that aloof sense of the now. Not really. A band that were born out of a city that, sure, for a hot minute felt on the cusp of something genuinely ‘edgy’, they’ve also always drawn on something more timeless.

As rooted in classic Madness, Kinks and distinctly British pop, ‘Duck’ is perhaps as close to their initial pomp as t’Chiefs have come since. Presented in bold technicolour, and drenched in frontman Ricky Wilson’s instinctive charm, it’s a record that’s all set to go big or go home.

That sense of self-aware humour is as whip-smart as ever. ‘Golden Oldies’ is a knowing nod that’s way smarter than the punchlines a less forgiving audience would write, while ‘People Know (How To Love One Another)’ is the sound of a band grasping for that unifying call they perfected with their breakthrough moment. ‘Target Market’ is a reminder that this isn’t just a band for the bombastic, but it’s closer ‘Kurt v Frasier (The Battle For Seattle)’ that really stands out. A bouncing bop packed with wry smiles, nostalgia and genuine warmth, Kaiser Chiefs are a band comfortable in their own skin. There’s nothing cooler than that.

Stephen Ackroyd

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