Un-‘Employment’ Time

The Santa Clara
Santa Clara Univ

The Kaiser Chiefs’ debut album, “Employment,” is the latest release in what seems to be a new British invasion. The album is entertaining, but doesn’t advance much. “Employment” does not live up to the buzz surrounding it, but is innocent fun.

In every wave of bands that come out of the U.K., there seem to be two types: the Beatles type and the Rolling Stones type, which has gained prominence in the United States. These bands, such as Franz Ferdinand and Bloc Party, tend to be rhythm oriented and more sexual. The Kaiser Chiefs fall into the Beatles category. Melody takes center stage and the lyrics and feel of the songs tend to be innocent, light fun.

The Kaiser Chiefs (Ricky Wilson-vocals; Andrew White-guitar; Simon Rix-bass; Nick Baines-keyboards; and Nick Hodgson-drums) formed in Leeds, England less than two years ago. The group formed as a garage band with few ambitions. After small club shows, the band gained recognition and quickly went into the studio to record “Employment.” The lack of experience is evident. The songs tend to be unpolished and do not seem to have been tried out live very extensively.

“Employment” begins with its four best songs. The opener, “Everyday I Love You Less and Less,” gets off to a rollicking start, but the pace is not maintained. The musical style of the song also differs drastically from the rest of the album. The backbone of the track is a great synth line that pushes the tempo of the rest of the instruments. The song is reminiscent of The Clash, which is high praise for any British band.

The album’s second track is the lead single “I Predict a Riot.” On this track, the synthesizer falls to the wayside, giving way to chanted, monosyllabic bridges. The song features an interesting mix of the suddenly-fashionable disco bass line and heavier rock guitars. Unfortunately, the track is about a minute too long and any kind of initial novelty wears off by the end.

At the halfway point, the album’s wheels begin to fall off. By the penultimate track “Caroline, Yes,” it seems that even the band has lost interest. The songs turn into long, drawn-out, partially conceptualized experiments that never quite pay off. If the second half of the album was redone, “Employment” would have something going for it. The band plays with energy and it is easy to see why their live shows have drawn so much attention, but the energy does not always transfer to the album.

They need to work on developing a unique sound, and after that, the natural polish that comes with experience could make The Kaiser Chiefs a band to watch for in the future. Grade: B-