Kaiser Chiefs

Education, Education, Education & War

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The fifth long-player from the Leeds-based festival rockers with a penchant for climbing lighting rigs and crafting innocuous, arm-waving anthems that fuse the anthemic scope of classic Brit-pop with the insular, somewhat opaque, progressive cynicism of early-2000s indie rock, begins with the rousing "Factory Gates," a distillation of all of those aforementioned attributes that sounds almost exactly like what is arguably their most well-known song, 2005's "I Predict a Riot." Written in multiple cities and countries and recorded in Atlanta, Georgia with producer Ben Allen, Education, Education, Education & War promises the golden vistas of a new frontier, yet delivers once again the quintessential Kaiser Chiefs album. Even its moniker, a quote from former prime minister Tony Blair, is stuck in the past, but if there's one thing that Ricky Wilson and company excel at, it's being themselves, and this ten-track collection of paeans to permeable dissatisfaction is as much a tribute album as it is a defiant gaze into the abyss. As arena anthems go, you could do a lot worse than the infectious, aforementioned earworm of an opener and the like-minded "Ruffians on Parade," or the propulsive and pugilistic "Misery Company," a wily and willfully melodic ode to self-deprecation that's built around a chorus of maniacal laughter, but they are ephemeral at best. There's a refreshing, devil-may-care cavalier attitude to Education, Education, Education & War that eradicates much of the desperation that was beginning to creep in after 2007's Yours Truly, Angry Mob, but it still doesn't change the fact that you've heard it all before.

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