Carrie & Lowell
Now Ricky Wilson's profile's in rude health, it's time to get the old band back together.
Not that Kaiser Chiefs ever split, apart from losing drummer and – some say – prime creative force Nick Hodgson. It's just that the hits dried up and a return wasn't a foregone conclusion, and it seemed even further away when Wilson accepted a big red chair on the Voice panel. He's a canny operator though: time to make hay while, well, everyone's saying what a great chap you are.
The gratifying thing is it's a useful comeback. Whatever Hodgson's powers were, the Chiefs haven't lost their knack for a memorable hook or vast singalong chorus. Single Coming Home is a typical stirrer, Meanwhile Up In Heaven is a lighters-aloft anthem and Misery Company's chorus dispenses with words in favour of a maniacal cackle – oddly as catchy as anything else.
But it's not all joy and bombast – that title's a sly dig at Tony Blair's old election manifesto and the reality of his legacy. It's an angry album really, with the thrilling flurry of The Factory Gates spitting bitter words about the drudgery of getting by, and the Bowie-like Cannons mock-celebrating the machinery of conflict.
What it all amounts to is a still-vital band getting something off its chest, and doing so with style. And not a lot of people were expecting that.