Start the Revolution Without Me
Last year, English indie rockers Kaiser Chiefs tried a unique approach to marketing their album. Fans could pay for the digital record and then select ten of twenty-three songs for their individualized tracklists. The physical edition of The Future Is Medieval was released later in the year.
Repackaged and renamed, Start the Revolution Without Me is now landing stateside with a slightly reshuffled offering of tracks. This new album, the first since the band’s three-year hiatus, shows how much they have matured since releasing the catchy singalongs that made their debut, Employment, such a smash.
At the same time, they haven’t sacrificed the frenetic pace and danceability that makes their music so enjoyable. Opener “Little Shocks” has heavier rock tones than most of the band’s material, and “When All Is Quiet” offers piano and tambourine that make it a bouncy barroom hit.
“Cousin in the Bronx” is one of the few songs not on the overseas edition of the album, but the New York ode fit this market well even if it has a disjointed tone. This is contrasted by “Can’t Mind My Own Business,” with its retro synth sounds and catchy chorus that’s easily to get lodged in your head.
However, the standout track is “If You Will Have Me,” the final song on the album. A gentle acoustic ballad, the song is performed by Nick Hodgson, the band’s drummer and primary songwriter. The song is a tribute to Hodgson’s departed father, and the strings that accentuate pained vocals take the album out on an emotional note. Start the Revolution Without Me isn’t a cohesive album, but it’s a snapshot of a period in the band’s development, free to embrace whatever style fits the mood. As an indie band to survive the mid-2000’s, that’s quite the accomplishment.