Universal Records, 2005
REVIEW BY: Melanie Love
ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED: 01/11/2006
There's nothing like an instant favorite. It's that album that gets lodged into your subconscious for weeks on end, refuses to eject itself from your CD player and has you rummaging around the house for blank CDs to spread the joy to anybody in the vicinity. That's what Employment, the explosive debut from Leeds-based band Kaiser Chiefs, did to me the minute it hit my stereo, and it still provokes that sentiment to this day.
Then again, Employment was only just released in the U.S. in March 2005, with the first singles "Oh My God" and "I Predict A Riot" hitting airwaves a few months prior, but that constitutes ages to me with the way I go through music.
From the bitter ode to an ex on the opening track, "Everyday I Love You Less And Less," each song is a perfectly constructed few minutes of Britpop (the longest song clocks in at barely over four minutes, so if you're not gifted with an attention span for anything resembling prog-rock, this is the album for you).
The Kaiser Chiefs have perfected the art of catchy -- and not annoyingly catchy, in a Britney Spears vein, but in a way that has you enjoying the choruses of "Oh My God" in your head long after the album has stopped playing. Employment flows along with such a sense of ease that it's easy to see how they catapaulted onto the charts before even receiving any backing from a record label. And sure, the lyrics aren't exactly poetry, with proclamations like, "These nights of booze catch up with you's / and that is an actual fact," but that's the charm of the Chiefs. They never take themselves too seriously, and never fall into the trap of sounding too samey.
From the folk-inspired chorus of "What Did I Ever Give You" to the infectious lyrics and frantic beat of "Na Na Na Na Naa", Employment barely ever falters. The strength of the band is that they manage to veer away from becoming a carbon copy of every other hit band gracing the mainstream. They've injected their own brand of humor and irony into their debut, and it's always refreshing to find a current band that's not entirely dependent on eyeliner and emo.
They've rocked Live 8 and the Leeds Festival and their standout amount of energy has them as a live favorite fixture, which just leaves me and a slew of other fans waiting patiently for their next move. Here's hoping it's every bit as captivating as Employment.