'Duck' opens with the catchy second single 'People Know How To Love One Another' and though its chorus is pretty straight-forward the repetition does allow the hook to build, and the persistent drum beat drives it forward, with a break down that sounds like it is going to be great live. It's a strong album opener that sets out the stall for what's to come, with a foot-stamping big number, and establishes the influences of the Beatles that percolates through the album.
'Golden Oldie' harks back to 'Employment' in its lyrical style with another strong catchy chorus, and the recognisably retro production style. Track three 'Wait' boasts a brassy backing track, cool distorted vocals, and is the most sixties-sounding on the album until references to Stacey Solomon and clickbait showcase its gentle ribbing of modern culture.
Track four 'Target Market' is one of the album's slower numbers, once more mixing modern and old-fashioned references, this time comparing relationships to a marketing meeting, all wrapped up in a gentle light production. The sub-3-minute 'Don't Just Stand There, Do Something' has the feeling of a popular and quirky live-favourite, throwing in references to some potential everyday situations with a fun, fast-paced poetic and visual delivery and the chantable titular chorus, plus the most abrupt ending to a song you can imagine. Imagine a 'Guilty Conscience' for the pop generation.
The album takes a little downhill turn at this point. 'The Only Ones' has a strong chorus but it feels a little bland after the energy of the previous track and comes across like a second attempt at 'Target Market'. 'Lucky Shirt' is a little better, with a smoother, gentler vibe and a cool series of synth lines that add some spark, but lyrically it's forgettable outside of the gambling-referencing building chorus.
Whereas many albums would taper out by this point, 'Duck' throws out some hard-hitters in its dying ten-minutes. 'Electric Heart', with its multi-layered vocal effects and the 'She's electric' hook next to some comparative lyrics, adds some care back into the process. This track, though, leads into the double-punch of the album's best two tracks.
The best song on 'Duck' is the quirky, funny and catchy in equal measure 'Northern Holiday' which builds up throughout its opening minute to paint a vivid picture of summer whilst reaching the very singable chorus with a big smile. Packed full of throwback references this is an absolute joy and is the album's true ear-worm; I can easily listen to this on a loop.
The party continues and wraps up 'Kurt Vs Frasier (The Battle For Seattle)' which keeps the references coming. With a jaunty swagger of a back-line the bridge and chorus work together to be a great little sing-a-long to bring 'Duck' to its 'Hey Jude'-esque conclusion.
The Kaisers' new album won't win over their detractors but that's no the point. It's unashamedly retro and kitsch in parts but does channel their earlier successes. If you want to hear some catchy, fun and outright poppy songs that will bring a happy smile to your face then you can't go far wrong with 'Duck'. (7.5/10)