Saturday, 7 December 2013

Kaiser Chiefs 'Never Miss A Beat'

Chart Peak: 5
The lads from Leeds shot to No. 5 in October 2008 with the first track from their third studio album Off With Their Heads... The stompingly anthemic 'Never Miss A Beat' was road-tested on the band's last tour and features backing vocals from Lily Allen and New Young Pony Club
Compared to the last few acts on this album, the Kaisers were a pretty venerable act, although they share with Razorlight the distinction of reaching the Top 5 with their last Top 40 single. At least the follow-up to this got as high as 111 in the chart, though that's scarcely better than the B-sides of this single did.

One imagines that after the moderate underperformance of their second album, the group felt the need for a rethink on the third and turned to the then very droppable name of Mark Ronson as producer. Despite his background in hip-hop and the success of his covers album in 2007, 'Never Miss A Beat' doesn't show a wild change in sound from earlier Kaisers material. The pounding drums and emphasis on rhythm that you might have associated with Ronson are in any case fundamental parts of the Kaisers sound, partly because the drummer was also the main songwriter (at least until he left last year). The main difference from previous work seems in fact to be that the vocals are less prominent in the mix, giving the track a slightly muddy sound and concealing the fact that the lyric is supposed to be a dialogue of two different characters both voiced by Ricky Wilson. More could have been made of the distinction really, especially as the song seems like it's trying to say something about youth culture and anti-intellectualism, albeit that the ideas seem a bit confused and the rhymes don't all work. What we're left with is a good catchy glam-rock song that's short and to the point. One I liked (though evidently not enough to buy it) but not something that  inspired me to listen to the remainder of the album. Not many other people did either and whilst the band still tour and record it's hard to see them resuming the sort of fame they had in 2005-7. I'd forgotten about Lily Allen's appearance until I read the sleeve note by the way; she can be heard on the chorus in the last few seconds, a contribution that seems more like an in-joke about the fact that she'd sung on Ronson's cover of 'Oh My God' than a necessary part of the track.

Also appearing on: Now 61, 62, 63, 66
Available on: Off With Their Heads

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