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on 6 April 2014
I must admit I was astonished. This is a return to The Kaiser Chiefs' roots. In my opinion, it's on a par with Employment which is something I never expected. The fabulous tongue-in-cheek lyrics are still there, Vijay's drumming is alive'n'kickin'. The keyboards have matured - very similar to The Stranglers' - a good thing. The guitars and bass are even better rockier than earlier albums. "The Voice", Ricky's that is, has more ethereal quality than in previously released tracks and increasingly powerful and energetic. "The Factory Gates" is a fabulous choice for the opening track, and to be perfectly honest, the rest of the album keeps up the pace and the haunting track, "Roses" closes the album with giving you a lot of food for thought. If anyone was in danger of thinking "The Kaiser Chiefs" were past it - THINK AGAIN - they've definitely still got what it takes!!! Lookin' forward to the festival season to see them again! Keep on rockin' boys!
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on 6 April 2014
This Album is Brilliant! I don't know much about music, I don't know what makes a song good or bad but as the title says 'I Like What I Like' and I like the Kaiser Chiefs. This review is just for fans, or possible fans, on the edge, wondering whether or not to purchase this Album. I am a massive fan of the Kaiser Chiefs but I will try to not be bias in my opinion. To be honest I really didn't like The Future is Medieval apart from 3 songs (those being 1. Child of the Jago 2. Man on Mars 3. Coming Up for Air) so I was worried that this Album might also fail to deliver, combine that with the bands original drummer having left and there is more than enough room left for fair doubt. But there is no need to fear, the Kaiser Chiefs have made a wonderful album that I am glued to 24/7. I love every song. And as for the drumming, well, its fantastic, its different in a way that still fits the band really well. So I will call their new drummer, bless him, one of the Chiefs.

People say that the band sounds different compared too their first and second albums and I agree but this is not a bad thing like so many people claim. Everything changes and a group of individuals music is no different. All anyone can do is try to see that it changes in the right way. Like I think this has.

There are two songs on this album which I think came right out of one of their first, second or third albums; The Factory Gates and Misery Company. The Albums single 'Coming Home' feels a bit out of place here but is still top notch but my favourite song by far is 'Ruffians On Parade', I cant stop listening to it! All the songs on this Album are Ace and, apart from my previously mentioned favourite, I have to give special mention to 'Meanwhile Up in Heaven' and 'Roses'.

Over all I think that this Album is suberb and would highly recommend it to any one who enjoys the Kaiser Chiefs earlier work. Peace. #alwaysonetypo
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on 31 March 2014
It has seemed for the last few years that the Kaiser Chiefs had become a little, well, predictable. An excellent live band, but suffering from the law of diminishing returns when it came to new material. After their excellent debut Employment and it's follow up Yours Truly, Angry Mob, their subsequent offerings have been increasingly disappointing.

With the release of the greatest hits offering Souvenir, you could be forgiving for thinking that would be that and they would shuffle off to be remembered fondly by their fans and those who had enjoyed a sing-a-long at a festival or two. It seems Nick Hodgson (their drummer and the main creative driving force behind the band) agreed, announcing his departure to pursue new projects.

That there is a new Kaiser Chiefs album at all is therefore something of a surprise, and it has been written and recorded by a band who feel they have something to prove - to their former drummer, to the public, and perhaps most of all to themselves.

And prove something they have done, with one or two reservations.

At times the album feels like standard fare for the Kaiser Chiefs (The Factory Gates and Bows and Arrows, for example) and such offerings they have done better previously, although that's not to say these are bad tracks - far from it. But they are no "I Predict A Riot" or "Ruby".

But elsewhere on the album they exhibit a willingness to take risks and try something different. Coming Home is certainly a departure in style for the band, but such safe middle of the road territory is thankfully atypical - in fact, despite being the lead single for the album it feels rather out of place here.

Misery Company is probably the stand out track, featuring a chorus of Rick laughing like some sort of demented Laughing Policeman. Cannons is another strong song, featuring poetry recited by Bill Nighy - not something previously heard on a Kaisers album!

What the album lacks, compared to their earlier efforts, is the strong catchy hooks that launched them to stardom. It is a collection of strong, and in many cases interesting songs but lacking the obvious hits needed to turn a good album into a great one.

But there is no shame in writing a merely "good" album, and it is certainly better than not only their more recent efforts but most other new albums you will hear this year.

Newcomers to the band would be better served by purchasing their first two albums, but to anyone who has already bought those and is wondering if they need another Kaiser Chiefs album in their collection I would say buy this and give it a chance - you will probably be pleasantly surprised.
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So, just imagine you're sitting an exam and this question comes up: Summarise in bullet points the KAISER CHIEFS' new album, EDUCATION, EDUCATION, EDUCATION & WAR. Yes, happy to do that, makes a pleasant change from Lord of the Flies. Okay, thirty minutes, shhh, here we go...

* Tony Blair probably won't appreciate the clever title, so that's a good start. In my opinion, of course.
* Unusual WW1 and beyond-style artwork for the insert but it does reinforce the working-class call to duty theme throughout. No pics of the boys this time around either, unless there's more to those line drawings than meets the eye. No offence, but if so then your guess is as good as mine (suggest no-one lets the artist stray into any high court proceedings as it could only end in confusion and disappointment).
* Ten songs, seven of which are simply excellent. The remaining three 'Coming Home', 'Meanwhile Up In Heaven' and 'Roses' are okay but lack that certain Kaiser something. The singles chart may disagree with two thirds of that analysis, however.
* Bill Nighy may be the new, er, Pete Best (the sixth Kaiser?), judging from his performance in 'Cannons'. Heavy and quite weird, Bill, was there a temptingly helium-filled balloon nearby? 'Cannons' is also the almost-title track, a major pulse-thumping epic. Note to all dwarf-druids: this could turn out to be the new 'Stonehenge', so don't knock it.
* Hard and driving pop music permeates the majority of this album and thank God the quirkiness is still there for all to hear (see directly above). It's what makes the Kaiser Chiefs special.
* A few catchy anthem sing-alongs are included for good measure, especially effective (and amusing) is the slightly creepy laughing chorus of 'Misery Company' and the Adam Ant-type vocal stretches in 'One More Last Song'. The superb 'Bows & Arrows' also has the bonus of a rousing chant, "...we the people/created equal..." Again, all smartly designed to lift us up.
* EEE&W is, on balance, even better than its immediate predecessor 'The Future is Medieval' and proves that maturity hasn't stunted either musical progression or creativity. Whatever the case, the Kaiser Chiefs always like to slip in a little politics and social commentary, but this time it's considerably more to the fore. Fortunately, the extended solos, pained expressions and strange posturing so beloved of the dreaded 'concept' album still seems some way off.
* There's a small but rather sad typo in the printed lyrics to 'The Factory Gates' which could only have been set by a younger member of the art department. Michael Palin may be no spring chicken but, please, it's Alan Whicker (not Wicker, fGs) and HE had his passport stamped first, tch.
* Every member of the Kaisers puts in a great performance and Ricky Wilson's voice is in particularly good shape. He remains an integral part of the band's overall personality and sound - that plus an amiable and well-adjusted transition to tv...I predict if not a riot, then at least an enhanced set of future career opportunities for the frontman (he won my vote just for saying 'records' when he really meant 'cds' on The Voice). Now that's cool.
* There are times when the production gets very dense and the sound is a little murky as a result, as though every instrument in the studio cupboard - with the possible exception of the kazoo - just HAD to be used, sans restraint.
* There's a new drummer in town hammering on the skins but, yeah, he seems to have slotted in nicely. Let's hope he's from Yorkshire, or at least nearby.
* The songs that stand out most and resonate unconditionally with my musical tastebuds are: 'The Factory Gates', 'One More Last Song', 'Bows & Arrows' and 'Misery Company'. Total winners. And 'Ruffians on Parade' and 'Cannons' are themselves only a stone's throw from the top spot.
* This album will probably not feature on TB's wish list. His loss.
* Finally, and most importantly: five albums in and Leeds' finest are still at the top of their game. A few minor quibbles and concerns maybe (e.g. don't ever do a Coldplay and lose your unique personality), but a five-star product all the same. It will be played often and loud.

That's it, time's up, pens down, please try to file out in an orderly manner. Yes, not bad this education thing.

VERY HIGHLY RECOMMENDED

POSTSCRIPT:
I saw the Kaiser's at their Doncaster Racecourse concert only a few days ago (28.06.14) and they were fantastic live. With the kind of back catalogue they possess you can imagine the set list delivered in spades. All the band gave it everything and Ricky Wilson showed yet again just why he is such a force of nature, bouncing all over the stage, belting out some great vocals and not disappointing with his trademark witty banter between numbers, as the following exchange demonstrates...

RW: "Put your hands up if you've seen us play live before"
(Quite a few of the audience do just that, cheers)
RW: "Okay, put your hands up if this is your first Kaiser Chiefs gig"
(Quite a few others of the audience, including me and my wife, duly oblige, further cheers)
RW: "Okay...now put your hands up if you've seen us more than ten times"
(A small but very vocal number of the audience proudly let themselves be known)
RW: (slight pause, wicked grin) "You sad b-ds!"

Ouch. Perfect comic timing.

An unqualified success amid some noisy (albeit enthusiastic) race punters and the ever-present drizzle. What a night.
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on 6 April 2014
Personally, I found this album slightly hard to approach. After the first listen I didn't quite understand what they were doing with the whole concept of war and day-to-day working class hardships, and I thought the whole thing somehow didn't feel relevant... But I couldn't have been more wrong. Honestly I think it may be one of the best albums they've done (certainly better than the last two, although I liked them lots), it's a very well polished collection of songs that takes the Kaiser Chiefs to whole new level of brilliant. Every single song gets better and better each time you listen to it (terrible cliche I know, but seriously, I've never known anything to grow on me so much). Maybe this isn't the best album for the casual listener, but to a Kaiser Chiefs fan it's pretty damn good.
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on 1 April 2014
I think we all know that the Kaiser Chiefs are VERY unlikely to ever top their first release, "Employment". However, there are some good songs on here, not up there with the majority of "Employment" but some maybe up with there with their 2nd album.

They need to get a new producer though - this is has a ridiculous amount of compression on the whole album, resulting in it lacking in any dynamics, light and shade and a lot of things sounding very distorted. It sounds likes the producer was in a rush and just compressed everything "to 11" without even listening to it, which totally distracts from some of the songs actually being quite good, and ruins the listening experience.

I wish people would wise up to the so called "Trend" of making things louder and louder every year - just for the benefit of people with an iPod and £3 set of headphones. It's crazy that recording technology has improved so much over the last 20 years and what can be achieved is amazing, yet it all gets ruining in the production, taking things back to the dark ages. Have a listen to "Employment", which Is definitely a lot better produced, and see if you can notice the difference.
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on 8 April 2014
Having dipped in and out of the Kaisers over the years, they've hit the mark with this new offering; thumping basslines and Ricky's soaring vocals..I think this is a great album, no fillers and 45 minutes of great music.
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on 26 August 2015
I am not a big Chiefs fan but I know talent when I see it. This album takes me back to an industrial era when life was very different. A time without a voice. It moves through the century, from being oppressed being told what life is to the full horror of the world today. We all have a voice but do we really want to hear or care what someone else's opinion is? Celebrity, facebook, media hell!

Well done Kaiser Chiefs for thinking outside the box of dross!
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on 1 April 2014
This is a decent enough album which has some pretty good songs interspersed with a few rather weaker 'filler' candidates.
However, what lets it down badly are the garbage production values; sounds like it has been mixed for AM Transistor Radios. Totally compressed and flattened, it is naff to the point that I will likely only be listening to it in the car. Play it on a decent sound system and it will simply grate on your teeth. I can't think why they went all the way to Atlanta to record it, only to make a crap job of it.
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on 5 May 2016
Great words to some fine songs that are so true and easy to sing a long with. Ricky is a great singer/song writer / group. KC improve with each CD made. Made me want to purchase older CDs to see what I have been missing.
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