Though I’m willing – but not that interested – to be proved otherwise, I’m unsure whether many similar test cases exist in 2018 of victors of the blazers, school ties and expensive naff scruffy cringe of 2004-2008 indie who willingly fell off the truck long ago going solo. Enter erstwhile Kaiser Chief Nick Hodgson – now styled as Nick J.D Hodgson, don’t you know – with Tell Your Friends.
Although unpalatable in theory, Kaiser Chiefs had a decent run of songs during their purple patch – listening to stuff like ‘Oh My God‘, ‘Everyday I Love you Less and Less‘, ‘Everything is Average Nowadays‘, ‘Heat Dies Down‘ and ‘Never Miss a Beat‘ – SPARINGLY – isn’t too bad an experience. Nick Hodgson was apparently the band’s driving songwriter during these highs, a an idea disputed by the other Helmets – I mean, Chiefs. It’s a sheer coincidence that the quality of the – albeit, not to my taste – music divebombed and deflated around the time Hodgson called it quits. Kaiser Chiefs in 2018 now resemble a newly skinny-fat divorced dad in a greying Liam Gallagher haircut and trendy, striped French prisoner t-shirt.
That said, Tell Your Friends is some fairly uneventful, sanguine stuff; alternating between by-numbers and understated wind-in-your-hair 70s folk rock, woozy Byrds-like jangle and and bursts of boogie woogie Northern Soul. A lot of the album’s dignified, older-indie-gent-MOR is reminiscent of Beck‘s Sea Change. However, while that album dealt with the issues of break-up and heartbreak, many of Tell Your Friends‘s songs are evidently love songs. Think Kaiser Chiefs songs being performed at 0.75x playback speed under heavy sedation.
‘Honest Face‘ – where Hodgson enthuses and breathes a sigh of relief over the fact his beau has trustworthy facial features (decent move – you can’t trust these jezzies nowadays), ‘Suitable‘ – a string-lead anthem not unlike prime Embrace and the low-fi Scouting For Girls / The Feeling rearrangement ‘Tomorrow I Love You‘ serve as charming but ultimately antiseptic dad rock.
It’s not a bad album, just fair low-stakes stuff. Hodgson can be happy in the world he’s created in Tell Your Friends. It’s unlikely to whip up much of a strorm, but he still retains more dignity than Ricky Wilson et al long after the world has moved on.
Tell Your Friends is out now on Prediction Records.