Kaiser Chiefs Employment, 2005, B-Unique Records
Everyday I Love You Less and Less
I Predict a Riot
Na Na Na Na Naa
You Can Have It All
Oh My God
Born to Be a Dancer
What Did I Ever Give You?
Time Honoured Tradition
Hailing from Leeds in the north of England, Kaiser Chiefs got together in 2000 under the name Pava. They released one album before changing their name. Employment was their first album under the Kaiser Chiefs moniker. It reached number 2 in the chart following the band’s success at the 2006 Brit Awards and went five times platinum.
Electro-tinged opener "Everyday I Love You Less and Less" is a great, slightly Clash-esque anti-love song which sets up this whole album pretty well, although you know the protagonist is really trying to convince himself that he is over his ex rather than anyone else. The tempo stays high with "I Predict a Riot", a song that sounds exactly like the “fun with a flavour of risk” night out in Leeds that it’s describing. (I lived in Leeds for a while, things can get interesting there sometimes). "Modern Way" is gentler, but another one with a very 1980s electro vibe. "Na Na Na Na Naa" may not be lyrically complex but it sure is fun to dance to. "You Can Have It All" is strongly reminiscent of Madness, a sad track about an emotionally abusive relationship. "Oh My God" is one of their most well known songs and it’s incredibly catchy. Piano driven "Born to Be a Dancer" is another catchy one which disparages northerners who move down to London and forget their roots. "Saturday Night" has the punkyest vibe so far, it’s fast and fun. "What Did I Ever Give You?" is slow and feels a bit gimmicky, it’s the first track that doesn’t really work. "Time Honoured Tradition" does make its gimmick work though and feels much more fun. "Caroline, Yes" named in homage to The Beach Boys’ "Caroline, No", slows things down again but it feels cool and languid. "Team Mate" is a lacklustre ending though, as yet another band falls into the 2000s “We have to have a ballad somewhere” curse.
I went into this thinking I didn’t really like the Kaiser Chiefs, but I was clearly lying to myself because I found this a really fun album full of strong singles and other bouncy tracks. As long as the tempo stays up, it keeps its momentum and the songs seem to blur together in a good way. Unfortunately the two weak tracks really do jar, so it doesn’t feel like a truly great album. There’s a lot to like here though and I feel that I know understand why this band were so ubiquitous in the UK in the mid-2000s.