Acoustic Sounds

Kaiser Chiefs

Kaiser Chiefs' Easy Eighth Album



Label: V2 Records

Produced By: Amir Amor and Lewis Thompson

Engineered By: Jess Camilleri and Robert Sellens

Mixed By: Matt Wiggens, James Reynolds, and Kevin Grainger

Mastered By: Stuart Hawke (Metropolis), Kevin Tuffy, and Kevin Grainger (Wired)

By: Dylan Peggin

March 26th, 2024


Funk Indie Pop



“Kaiser Chiefs’ Easy Eighth Album” - A Step Forward or Backward?

Leeds’ pop rockers get funky

In the mid-2000s, Kaiser Chiefs finally exploded onto the post-punk revival scene. After a failed attempt in the music business as Parva, they scrapped everything to forge ahead with a new musical voyage. In a musical climate dominated by American groups like The Strokes and The Killers, Kaiser Chiefs provided a strong British influence, borrowing elements from Britpop and 70s punk rock. The group’s ability to craft stadium anthems, such as “I Predict A Riot” and the No. 1 hit “Ruby,” meant the reinvention paid off tremendously. Music aside, frontman Ricky Wilson’s energetic stage presence helped make the band an arena-filling act and a mainstay on the festival circuit, bringing audiences to life. Coupled with album sales itching towards millions worldwide, they are one of the most successful English bands of the 21st century. 

Kaiser Chiefs’ first two albums, Employment and Yours Truly Angry Mob, are the most beloved in their catalog by long-time diehards. Off With Their Heads and The Future is Medieval saw the group broadening their musical palette, the latter pioneering an innovative album launch method by allowing fans to create their very own album from a selection of 20 songs. This initial era of the group halted in 2012 when drummer/primary songwriter Nick Hodgson left the band to pursue studio work. Vijay Mistry took over the drum throne, and the band carried on with Education Education Education and War, a politically charged album that balanced the group’s classic sound with more commercial sensibilities; Hodgson’s absence enabled outside writers to fill the void. This shift also enabled Kaiser Chiefs’ sound to cater to Ricky Wilson’s emergence as a British television personality, particularly the synth-pop-influenced Stay Together. The follow-up, Duck, was a solid return to form. The release of their new album, the aptly titled Kaiser Chiefs’ Easy Eight Album, shows the group pulling in an entirely fresh direction.

Just like Stay Together was once described as “Kaiser Chiefs go pop,” Kaiser Chiefs’ Easy Eight Album is the group going funk. The group’s collaboration with Chic’s Nile Rodgers on the opening track, “Feeling Alright,” provides some authenticity to their take on the genre. The grooving instrumentation of “How 2 Dance” sounds like something that could’ve come from David Bowie’s album, Let’s Dance. David Arnold’s string arrangement on “Burning in Flames” gives the song a disco tinge. The arrangements of these respective singles from the album have commercial appeal written all over them and have enough going to entice a dancefloor.

The album/non-single tracks are the moments where the group lets loose. “Beautiful Girl” is melodic indie rock at its finest. The lyrics cleverly fixate on the beauty of everyday objects and how it correlates with seeing those one-off qualities in romantic partners; bonus points for referencing vinyl and turntables. “The Job Centre Shuffle” lyrically explores the mundanity of unemployment and the boredom it ensues. The grit of Simon Rix’s bass tone on the bluesy “Reasons to Stay Alive” juxtaposes the social commentary of the lyrics alluding to school shootings, corruption, and the news. With Kaiser Chiefs’ Easy Eight Album relying heavily on electronic instrumentation, guitarist Andrew White briefly provides some contrast, letting loose with a guitar solo on “Sentimental Love Songs.” An ode to life-long friendship in the form of “The Lads” concludes the album with a gang-vocal chorus full of passion to rouse up a singalong on any given occasion.

The artwork of Kaiser Chiefs’ Easy Eight Album matches the abnormal nature of its title, consisting of a white cover with the number 8 in watercolors. Gone are the days of Kaiser Chiefs’ pin-striped blazers, as they adopted a more contemporary uniform as seen on the printed inner sleeve, the opposite side featuring lyrics and credits. The indie exclusive yellow vinyl pressing, pressed by the Netherlands-based Record Industry, is hefty and played quietly without any audible discrepancies. An anonymous cutting engineer at Record Industry emphasizes the album’s well-pronounced bottom end and mids but could’ve benefitted from more crispness in the highs. Nonetheless, it still sounds very bold.

Despite some of the album’s intriguing moments, Kaiser Chiefs’ Easy Eight Album is a generic electropop album at face value. It’s an exercise in brevity with a running length of under 30 minutes, yet suffers from the extremes of modern-pop production by having nine co-writers on one single track (seriously?!). On a lighter note, the album is commendable for Kaiser Chiefs’ boisterous work ethic of exploring new territory while sustaining a twenty-year career. Not to regress backward, but a diehard fan can hope that the group rediscovers its essence, plugs its guitars, ditches the outside writers/producers, and churns out songs at the same ante as the ones about predicting riots and girls named after gemstones.

Music Specifications

Catalog No: VVNL 46971

Pressing Plant: Record Industry

Speed/RPM: 33 1/3

Weight: 180 grams

Size: 12"

Channels: Stereo

Presentation: Single LP