||02/26/07 10:43 PM
Kaiser Chiefs - Yours Truly, Angry Mob
Kaiser Chiefs practically own our brothers across the Atlantic. Their Employment went quintuple platinum on the island, triple platinum in Europe, and gold in Greece. “I Predict a Riot” cannoned the group into the spotlight and following singles “Modern Way” and “Everyday I Love You Less and Less” added to the snowballing momentum of the group. Over three million album sales later and Kaiser Chiefs took home 2006 Brit Awards for British Rock Act, British Live Act, and British Group as well as NME’s Best Album and Best Dressed. Enter 2007, a time when the Leeds boys must keep up their larger than life Britpop reputations with their sophomore release, Yours Truly, Angry Mob.
Much like on the former disc, the latter opens with an instantly memorable single. “Ruby” starts with consistent guitar work that immediately opens up the first of many chants on the album. Calm, slow interludes separate oddly charging yet suppressed choruses. Cries of “Ruby” beg for listeners to scream along, but the accompanying instrumentation pacifies the masses. The ensuing “The Angry Mob,” pulls a similar stunt. Once again it employs repetitive, easily learned choral work, which allows Kaiser Chief virgins to belt out lines alongside the more experienced lads. The staggered nature of front man Ricky Wilson’s vocal expeditions mixes the experience up enough to intrigue listeners throughout its entirety.
The aptly titled “Heat Dies Down” adds relatively significant variety to the experience by decelerating the pace of the album. This variety invigorates fans. However, here one begins to notice the tiring aspects of the disc. Its repetition played out in an enjoyable fashion initially, but its consistent reappearances now start to grind on weary ears. Whereas repeated choruses initially proved fun and engaging, their all too frequent use now approaches a trite status.
Even more variety sprouts from acoustic number “Love is not a Competition (But I’m Winning).” Here Wilson showcases his voice impeccably, fully taking advantage of his strengths and letting them echo through well-layered sections. This piece illustrates the impressive nature Kaiser Chiefs are capable of conjuring up when they refuse to simply iterate trademark phrases as an apathetic excuse for a chorus. Synthetic tinge on the equally satisfactory “Thank You Very Much” inspires a similar sentiment; the boys flat out impress when their lyrics hit the spot.
“Boxing Champ” proves the most impressive song besides standout single “Ruby.” Its piano lace beautifully accessorizes Ricky’s raw voice. Here he sings roughly, and production shines brilliantly as each word echoes as if he exhales each breath into a majestic concert hall. It’s extreme brevity results in its only fault.
As fun a pop atmosphere as the album yields, its lyrics try listeners to no end. As previously mentioned, excessive recitals of clutch phrases prove not only intellectually boring but aurally unappealing as well. Other lyrical adventures lead nowhere as well. One grudgingly follows Wilson along his uninteresting trail of words detailing the trials of trying to gain acceptance into the nightclub (though he’s 29), the multiple inventions that he wishes he’d thought up in order to retire early, and how “due to lack of interest, tomorrow is cancelled” (the title of an Irene Kampen book speaking on the task of returning to school after 25 years absent). At times the triviality of the writing fails to undermine the outstanding infectiousness of the tracks (see: “Ruby”), but at others it effectively sinks the barely buoyant song.
Kaiser Chiefs bring little to the table in the way of new styles and innovation. However, what they lack in ingenuity they more than make up for with catchiness. While Employment used interesting choral wording, Yours Truly, Angry Mob falls far short in that category. Still, let’s be honest; no matter how dull and banal the wording may seem, even corpses tap their toes to the fun, cheeky Britpop of these Leeds chaps.