When Nick J. D. Hodgson left Kaiser Chiefs back in 2012, to put it lightly, I was devastated but quickly started to hope for solo material. After all, there was always a solo album or two in Nick for sure. I’m not ashamed to say that I was a huge Kaiser Chiefs fan for years because they did write some of the best indie-rock tracks throughout my teenage years regardless what anyone else says.
But this isn’t about Kaiser Chiefs and that’s the last time I’ll mention them throughout this piece. But where did the spark from a once great band go? ‘Tell Your Friends’ marks the first full release from Nick J. D. Hodgson since his departure from the band. Starting work on it just under a year ago and finishing it up late last year, it’s a surprisingly complete work of intricate, sincere and well thought out pop tracks for how swiftly it was put together.
Opening the album, the awfully catchy ‘RSVP’ combines ELO vibes with weighty guitars and anxious piano parts. Very much a jangly, piano pop tune though. ‘Honest Face’ is a generic indie-pop track for the most-part but with a Tame Impala-esque breakdown. String-lead ‘Suitable’ shows a soppier side to the album with a very much gushy, but affectionate love song. ‘I Love The Way Your Mind Works’ is catchy, funky and free. It’s just the interlude that lets it down, contrasting too much from the rest. However, the track redeems itself towards its laid-back outro.
The piano ballad ‘Iceberg’ is a rival to his previous work ‘Boxing Champ’, but a more mature, delicate and very much a heartfelt one. Thinking about delicate and heartfelt though, ‘Thank You’ continues this sentiment, but in a acoustic, more gentle manner. Perfecting the album order, ‘Don’t Forget To Go To Sleep’ is dreamy, but very much soothing way to end the album.
‘Tell Your Friends’ once again proves Hodgson’s ability to write some of the most well-crafted lyrics ever, albeit with some cringe-worthy ones thrown in. But were we expecting anything less? No, of course not. Based on the singles alone, I wasn’t that impressed. But after listening through the album as a whole, it’s got some absolute gems on there and even tracks that could quite easily be early contenders for “tracks of 2018” lists. The more you listen to ‘Tell Your Friends’, the better it gets and it’d be hard to pick a favourite. It’s horribly catchy in the best way possible and I challenge you not to get one of these tracks in your head for the next few weeks…