Traditionally, the second album is the difficult one for bands who have achieved initial success, full of anxieties about how to retain the qualities that have made them successful without producing a carbon copy or drifting too far from their original template. Having effortlessly surmounted that hurdle many years ago, Kaiser Chiefs celebrate their longevity by cheekily titling their latest the ‘Easy Eighth Album’. It feels appropriate as it is the sound of a band at ease with themselves, racing through ten concise tracks that are immediately accessible and filled with pop hooks.

Kaiser Chiefs are a band that has developed through small incremental changes rather than radical reinvention. Even though their latest album is produced by Rudimental’s Amir Amor and has guest appearances from Nile Rodgers, its sound straddles the worlds of indie-rock and 1980s pop. Opening track, ‘Feeling Alright’, contains one of the two Rodgers contribution, overlaying his inimitable choppy, funk guitar that has decorated hits since his late 1970s Chic heyday with Vijay Mistry’s stomping beat and Peanut’s swirling keyboard, it is a buoyant start and one of numerous earworms. Rodgers also contributes to ‘How 2 Dance’ which has a definite ‘Get Lucky’ vibe, offering a perfect pop dance crossover dopamine hit. These tracks are sandwiched between ‘My Beautiful Girl’ which is built around the line, “I spoilt the chance for me to dance alone” and with its references to record players is indicative of Ricky Wilson’s capacity to use small details to create a vivid picture.

‘Job Centre Shuffle’ features Hak Baker and musically pays homage to Leeds post-punk predecessors Gang of Four and hints at mayhem in its lyrics (“P45 arrives attached to a brick… all you get for crying is a wet face”). In contrast, the heavily orchestrated ‘Burning In Flames’ recalls mid-period Duran Duran and is another highlight. ‘Reasons To Stay Alive’ is bolstered by a glam rock beat and Simon Rix’s bass locking in with Andrew White’s heavy riffing. ‘Sentimental Love Songs’ reflects the album’s confident mood in its willingness to write a non-corny love song about Wilson’s wife and two kids, a paeon to contentedness.

‘Jealousy’ could be a punchy Beautiful South with Paul Heaton offering a template in combining success with humility which Kaiser Chiefs have followed whereas ‘Noel Groove’ references one of the Gallagher siblings who neither friend nor foe could accuse of being a model of modesty. The album closes with the anthemic ‘The Lads’, a tribute to the awkwardness of unstated male friendship amongst fellow band members which feels like a more testosterone fuelled unlikely second cousin to Gruff Rhys’s ‘Bad Friend’ and would make an excellent set closer or encore.

‘Kaiser Chiefs’ Easy Eighth Album’ is full of underrated qualities: warmth, humour, comfort in its own skin and the ability to knock out memorable tunes. It is easy to imagine their fifteenth album being an absolute cinch.

Kaiser Chiefs’ Easy Eighth Album – Out 1st March 2024 (Kaiser Chiefs Recordings)

Chiefs – How 2 Dance (Official Lyric Video) (

I was editor of the long-running fanzine, Plane Truth, and have subsequently written for a number of publications. While the zine was known for championing the most angular independent sounds, performing in recent years with a community samba percussion band helped to broaden my tastes so that in 2021 I am far more likely to be celebrating an eclectic mix of sounds and enthusing about Made Kuti, Anthony Joseph, Little Simz and the Soul Jazz Cuban compilations as well as Pom Poko and Richard Dawson.