The pop-rock quartet from Leeds strikes again with a brand new release Souvenir: The Singles 2004-2012. Well, its not technically brand new as it is in fact a collection of their singles and one new song. Formed just 16 years ago the Kaiser Chiefs have been a unique landmark in the pop-rock landscape. Their unmistakable sound (rocky enough for pop-haters but joyful enough for pop-lovers) made their success with two great albums: Employment (2005) and Yours Truly Angry Mob (2007). But what should one think about them now? Indeed with their previous release, the intriguing Future is Medieval (or Start The Revolution Without Me in the USA, 2011), the band seemed to have taken a new darker and more progressive direction; made obvious by the “pick-and-mix” internet release where one “produced its own album”. Hence despite the arguable quality of the Future is Medieval (motley mix between good and disappointing songs), it was still unsure whether they’d still have it.
I like the Kaiser Chiefs, I have spent my teenage listening to them and eagerly waiting for their next release, and though I am not member of their fan club, which according to drummer composer Nick Hodgson “kept asking for a single collection”, I warmly welcome this album.
The album is a collection of all the band’s singles since they were called Kaiser Chiefs (we’re missing Parva’s singles, including Take My Temperature) and frankly they’re all great. You’d be surprised by how many you already know by heart, from “Oh My God” to “I Predict a Riot” and “Ruby” none are missing. And for those who don’t them yet you’d be struck by their freshness and creativity. Almost all songs feature an “easy sing-along” finale (May it be an easy “ruby, ruby, rubyyyy”, or a more satirical “we are the angry mob…”) and an orgasmic and surprising bridge which just makes you want to jump and shout, especially if you’re intoxicated. It is a great gift for pop-rock enthusiasts or a young nephew who doesn’t know what good music is yet.
The new single “Listen to Your Head” doesn’t seem to match the quality of the rest; it is a credible pop-rock song but sounds as if it was quickly made between two gigs. The bulk is here but the band’s touch is missing. Overall this album has everything to please; it is a groovy selection of singles we all already danced on (even though we might not remember it), which will probably shine even brighter live.