Release Date: Mar 15, 2005
Record label: Universal
Genre(s): Indie, Rock, Britpop
Last week, Radio 4's Front Row applied itself to the thorny question of what label to slap on the current crop of young British guitar bands, among them Leeds quintet the Kaiser Chiefs. Listening to their shamelessly pleasurable debut album, only one tag seems appropriate, however shopworn it may be: Britpop. There's not much point in denying the similarities to Blur's Parklife: the producer (Stephen Street); the influences (XTC, Wire, the Jam), the comical Little Englander comments in interviews ("We just got fed up of all these dreadful bands coming over from abroad"); and the wry celebrations of the everyday ("Hold tight to your Red Stripe").
Inspired by that moment sometime in the late '70s when punk gave birth to new wave (and looked back to the heyday of '60s mod for inspiration), the Kaiser Chiefs' debut, Employment, expands on the sharp, sussed sound of their singles in surprising ways. A look at British life and its discontents, Employment is a remarkably ambitious debut album that aspires, right down to its cheeky liner notes and graphics, to be the Parklife or All Mod Cons of the 2000s. While it doesn't quite reach those heights, it does have its fair share of memorable songs.