Review Summary: Just like the town drunk; ‘Employment’ is silly and repetitious, but if you are in the right frame of mind, it is also very entertaining and fun to be around.
There are a handful of bands going around at any one time where it is simply best not to pay too close attention to them. Those that view the glass half empty will not be able to resist doing so and will find it painfully easy to pick holes in every facet of that band’s performance. However, those who view the glass as half full will not care too much about the doubters and simply enjoy the music for all of its fun and catchy qualities. If there is one band and album which is the perfect example of this theory, it has to be the Kaiser Chiefs 2005 debut ‘Employment’.
No time is wasted proving this with album opener and highlight ‘Everyday I Love You Less and Less’. Released as the 3rd single from the LP, the combination of synths and a rock (almost punk) sound mesh near-perfectly to provide a bouncy and positive vibe that practically makes you disregard the predictable subject matter. The rhyming does get a little silly as the track progresses, while the “na na nas” are an obviously cheap ploy to infuse a sing-along catchiness to the equation, but it is all such fun that one can’t help but be entertained by it all.
The first half of ‘Employment’ is littered with similar infectious Blur-inspired Brit-Pop. Second single ‘I Predict A Riot’ is a live favorite which has become a pub-rock anthem. ‘Modern Way’ is a more subdued chorus-reliant grower. ‘Na Na Na Na Naa’ is an energetic toe-tapper that is almost impossible to dislike, despite its unabashed title and near ridiculous level of simplicity and repetitiveness. And while lead single ‘Oh My God’ begins as a funky bass-driven cut, it later explodes into a stubbornly repetitive chorus that has won over Brits by the bucket-loads (even if it could have been more imaginative).
What variety there is throughout the 12 tracks included is often subtly effective. The aforementioned beginning to ‘Oh My God’ is a good example of this, as is the electro glam-rocker that is ‘Saturday Night’, which has a real personality about it behind its atypically distorted vocals. Unfortunately, during many of the album’s latter half cuts, the band are often pushed too far outside of their comfort zone, resulting in songs ranging from so-so to outright bland.
The Kaiser Chiefs have a liking for 1960’s like pop harmonies which they cannot resist showcasing on tracks such as ‘You Can Have It All’, ‘What Did I Ever Give You"’ and ‘Caroline, Yes’. However, they are simply not as effective as they think they are in these circumstances and the fact that these are the three longest pieces on ‘Employment’ does not help them out one little bit. In a sense, the Kaiser Chiefs need to be like an outsized boxer; They need to hit and run with their catchiness and melodies (see Time Honoured Tradition’s entertaining sub 3 minute duration), because when they stick around for too long… They are simply going to get caught out and pummeled into defeat, so to speak.
To continue the silly analogies… The Kaiser Chiefs’ debut release ‘Employment’ is a bit like a drunk down at your local pub. They are more often than not very silly… They have a tendency to be repetitious and rant on for too long… Yet, they are also as entertaining as hell, while being fun to be around. The effectiveness of ‘Employment’ will undoubtedly depend upon a listener’s mood at the time, because just like that local drunk, if you do not have the time to put up with them, then they can get very annoying. But in the right frame of mind, there is catchy and entertaining fun to be had by all.
Recommended Tracks: Everyday I Love You Less and Less, I Predict A Riot, Na Na Na Na Naa & Saturday Night.