Listening to the Kaiser Chiefs hugely enjoyable Employment CD reveals the ultimate absurdity of the relentless urge to subdivide and sub-classify rock music. You might as well throw all those endless divisions away and return to simple pop/rock definition that I personally prefer for any music with a pronounced rock ‘n’ roll derived backbeat.
For the music on this CD would have been called pop music a la Beatles or Kinks in the 1960s, power pop in the early ’70s, punk pop in the late ’70s, guitar pop in the 1980s, Brit-pop in the 1990s and it is all those things.
So let’s just call it rock, and rejoice in the effortless synthesis that the band has mastered to produce yet one more entry in the patheon of highly satisfying rock albums.
Whether Employment is a masterpiece I can’t tell yet, but it contains a lot of witty, catchy, energetic songs and is good food for the soul. Despite the long and honorable heritage that it draws from, the band sounds individual and self-contained and may, assuming it holds together, join the finest of its predecessors as another essential building block in the edifice call rock.
I think it will.
The reason why is encapsulated in the single I Predict A Riot, a sublime rocker of social unrest not unlike The Jam’s Eton Rifles, and it is just as powerful complete with glam-rock style riffing guitars under the chorus and a very nice sense of dynamics. It resembles a lot of great songs that have come before it, yet sounds exactly like none of them. Which is precisely how it has worked for every great rock song since the beginning of the form.
Postscript: Having listened to this album repeatedly, I have grown only to like it more. It may eventually come to rank with Definitely Maybe.