in Review

Going Medieval

The Kaiser Chiefs – The Future is Medieval

I remember being so excited for this album at one point in time and then when it finally came out I felt nothing. It’s as if all my excitement and interested peaked in one day and let me explain why. The Future is Medieval was one of those albums that was released quickly and somewhat secretly, not unlike The Raconteurs album Consolers of the Lonely or Radiohead’s surprising King of Limbs. I didn’t know about this album’s existence until it was already out so I immediately rushed to listen to it, but there was something off. I originally became a fan of the Chiefs for their energetic and catchy rock songs brimming with poppy optimism, this on the other hand is a much darker album. The Future Is Medieval concentrates more on complex arrangements and musicianship then poppy melodies which is interesting but not half as inviting as the Chiefs last few albums.

Perhaps getting so excited for an album you just heard existed has a dramatic effect on your listening experience? Maybe it built up my expectations far too high? Either way I do notice a definite change in the group’s songwriting and I’m not sure how I feel about it. I keep waiting for that catchy single to break out of the pack but it never really takes off in that way. “When All is Quiet” has potential in the chorus but I feel the verse’s descending chord pattern was the wrong choice. “Man on Mars” also sounds like it has potential but it’s not quite there yet. The songs never quite go where you think they should and even the lead single “Little Shocks” never takes off into that riotous singalong chorus were so familiar with when it comes to the Chiefs

The musicianship and production value sound great and it sounds like the Chiefs are really putting their keyboard player to work. This album can sound new wave, electronic, and even industrial at times which is an intriguing choice, but I miss the old sound. I suppose as a group goes on they should experiment and tool around with their approach but I just hope they don’t lose touch with their ability to craft songs that you can actually singalong to.

Favorite Tracks: “Child of Jago”, “Man on Mars”, “When All is Quiet”

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