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- Kaiser Chiefs »
Right now, titanic monsters are locked in duels to the death for your soul. In the relentless pursuit of dominance they devour each other in territorial squabbles and feed constantly. The most successful of the breed piss where they please and protect what they have with their very lives; few escape their greedy gaze. The enormo-slug, Rupert Murdoch, has alone absorbed fifty million souls whilst slithering his gelatinous body over Myspace...
"We're Kaiser Chiefs and we write songs for people to sing along to!" shouts Ricky Wilson and the Alexandra Palace hordes acknowledge him. He runs back and forth, instigating Mexican waves, he does his Albarn-approved leaps and kicks, and the crowd? Well, they sing his songs don’t they, because for them - no matter how drunk or how badly deteriorated their sense of balance - these songs are locked away in a mind-compartment that alcohol simply cannot taint.
Kaiser Chiefs have crossed over, make no mistake. The signs were there from the start for those who cared to read them. It's got something to do with the crazily inflated level of exposure, the simplicity of the "La"s and "Whoaaaaah"s, but most of all it's because they have a knack of writing songs that penetrate their way inside your head and turn you into some kind of Kaiser Chiefs host. You piggy-back their DNA around without prior knowledge or consent until - like some inherent fear of snakes, an event triggers a natural response and you realise that you know every song and every word without having ever spun the record more than twice. Quite a trick, and one which no amount of tramp-wanking or marketing money can conjure up.
The instantly hooky pop nuggets 'I Predict a Riot', 'Oh My God' and 'Modern Way' generate predictable glee, and the synth-buzz of 'Na Na Na Na Na' or 'Everyday I love You Less and Less' work their way through the floor and up the leg-pipes 'til thousands of people are locked in a suitably unsteady commotion. The less said about the frankly underpolished ‘new ones’ the better, but in the shimmering quality of 'You Can Have It All', Kaiser Chiefs reveal a soul and depth that proves they can be much more than the one-dimensional hoodwinkers some people have painted them as.
I loathe to use the word 'anthem' - it's one of those adjectives so overused by the likes of Jo Whiley that you eventually substitute it in your own mind for the word 'shit', but it's hard to think of a band since Oasis that bring together quite such a mix of people to shout themselves hoarse.
Those of us who consider ourselves a little more au fait with such things may think we know better. We dismiss our parents' talk of Kaiser Chiefs with a casual flick of the wrist as an attempt to cling to something they perceive to be hip. Something this safe can't be dangerous, or sexy, or vital can it?
Well... no. I’d rather listen to any number of bands over these but to focus on that misses the point. It's in the wake of bands like this that other more innovative people find room to breathe, and through such pop-friendlyness that the majority of us travelled en-route to our own particular musical kinks and perversions. To make headway you have to have sufficiently large tools to do so and a razor blade doesn’t cut down an oak tree - no matter how sharp. By sending out the Kaiser Chiefs to bulldoze a path, the rest of us can walk down hand in hand listening to a man milking a badger.
Time to tag your allegiances to the mast, people, and decide on whose good ship you’re sailing, because in a world of macro-institutions and burly gatekeepers sometimes you unleash a monster to break down a barricade, then watch it run amok.
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