Kaiser Chiefs – Education, Education, Education & War
“Light a fire, we’re coming home” sings Kaiser Chiefs’ frontman Ricky Wilson on the first single from Education, Education, Education & War. It’s a lyric that echoes the band’s decision to return to their roots with their latest album, re-claiming the sound that first caused them to rise to fame nearly ten years ago.
Produced by Ben H Allen III, who has worked with the likes of Gnarls Barkley and Animal Collective, Education, Education, Education & War combines some of the strongest elements from the Chiefs’ previous albums to create their best sound yet – a sound that is closer to the one heard on Employment (2005) than some of their later releases. A punk rock influence is still audible and fans will be pleased to discover that the band haven’t lost their trademark “woahs”.
The album’s title is a reference to a 2005 speech by Tony Blair. The band have never shied away from politics and, with their satirical lyrics, the songs on this album continue to express a dissatisfaction with modern life. “So this is the age of the train/all aboard for the labour exchange” Wilson exclaims in punchy opening track Factory Gates.
Coming Home, the band’s first top 40 hit since Never Miss a Beat (2008) features a Smiths-esque intro and catchy guitar riffs, while the upbeat Ruffians on Parade is sure to be a summer hit, with its nostalgic lyrics telling of carefree youthful days. Suspense-building Meanwhile Up in Heaven is contrasted by the reflective, melancholic Roses.
Kaiser Chiefs are known for their experimental approach and an unexpected offering on this album is a two-minute anti-war poem, The Occupation, read by the indomitable Bill Nighy.
This is Kaiser Chiefs’ first album since the departure of lyricist and drummer Nick Hodgson, who was replaced by Vijay Mistry in 2012. If the band were looking to prove that the change in line-up hasn’t affected their ability to produce great music they have succeeded – Education, Education, Education & War marks a return to form for the band and comes highly recommended.
Education, Education, Education & War was released on 31st March 2014. For further information or to order the album visit Kaiser Chiefs’ website here.
Watch the video for Coming Home here: