The Kaiser Chiefs made their name with loud, racuous guitar driven punk rock with a charming stripped-back simplicity that made their earlier contemporaries The Strokes and Razorlight so successful. Unfortunately unlike those bands they perhaps never had the same hipster cool and despite originally being the darlings of students across the country, latter albums saw them become maligned as a "Dad" band. A cruelly unfair prejudice against a band that had been so refreshing in its high energy fun that never took itself too seriously.
This collection shows just how much they developed from "Employment", in fact the only notable omission singles wise is from that Album with "Na Na Na Na Naaaa" missing for some inconceivable reason. Aside from that it is highly comprehensive with the big hitters from the first three albums getting things fired up nicely early on.
The new songs are absolutely fantastic and are on a par with anything they have released in the past. "Listen to your head" and "On the Run" are both syth rock masterpieces brimming with bouncing energy that conveys a clear message that despite drummer Nick Hodgson leaving, they still have plenty to offer.
Some of the later material was perhaps overlooked by many more casual fans, especially as "Future is Medieval" was released in such a fragmented way online. It was produced by a production team who have worked with David Bowie and the influences of his work are clear. "Man on Mars" is perhaps the most intelligently written song from the band and although harder to appreciate due to some complex synth arrangements, it is an enduring song as one of the few by the band that holds significance beyond a dance floor rock out.
Overall it is a great collection of Indie British punk rock that is a clear reminder that the mid-2000s were a golden age for British music that had been heralded in by The Libertines a few years previously. The biggest surprise is the range of styles the Chiefs have covered, proving beyond doubt that they are far more than a few catchy tunes and infectious riffs. As this and their recent tour proved, this album is no swansong but a celebration of a band at its peak.