Album Review Kaiser Chiefs - Off With Their Heads

Liking the Kaiser Chiefs to Blur is no new idea, but the former need to stray further and more frequently from their aforementioned comfort zone if they are to continue to merit the attention they currently garner. This spikey LP is no step forward into the unknown from Leeds’ ‘Angry Mob’ and will win them few new fans; who knows if those that were lost will come crawling back.

Oasis

are back, there is a young pretender to Number 10 looking to overthrow a tired Government; a government where the leader responsible for the mess has stepped down to let their bumbling Commander pick up the pieces. British music is pretty bloody good, and providing an excellent support cast, hell even Alan McGee is back via his ‘discovery’ of flavour of the month Glasvegas. Eleven years laters all we need now for a full on reconstruction of Britpop is someone to play Damon Albarn.

Step forward the Kaiser Chiefs, Ricky Wilson in particular, proving that Britpop was long enough ago that you can make a career out of aping some of its leading lights. The Chiefs prove on their latest offering that those very early comparisons made to Davies, Weller and the Small Faces were completely unwarranted. The comparisons with Blur were not and there are echoes of ‘Parklife’’s lesser known tracks all over this record.

One key difference is that rather than riding the crest of Britpop’s hedonistic wave the Kaisers actually have something to say. The only question is how good they are at getting the point across. ‘Off With Their Heads’, more than either of its predecessors, lives and dies by its presentation and lyrical content. Every song is made up of a great melody, chorus chants, catchy refrains and simple but effective layers of guitar and keyboard, but when the writing and delivery from Wilson is lazy the songs are poor at best; the perfect examples here being ‘Good Days Bad Days’ and ‘Tomato In The Rain’.

Yet, when there is menace and meaning from Wilson the songs are pretty unstoppable. Opener ‘Spanish Metal’ with its heavy guitars, infectious single ‘Never Miss A Beat’ and the awesome ‘Half The Truth’ all impress. The latter is one of the better things the band have put to record, a full speed ahead rocker including a stake-raising verse from Sway and Wilson’s biting refrain ‘I will not lie to you / but I definitely only gave you half the truth’.

‘Addicted To Drugs’ is another perfect example of the laziness that can strike the Kaisers down, tea-leafing from ‘Charmless Man’ is one thing, but from Robert Palmer? The guest appearances of Lily Allen and New Young Pony Club can quite easily pass by unnoticed as the album bounces from to and fro from a decent rock song to a weaker, poppier efforts before closing with the excellent ‘Remember You’re A Girl’. Sung by Nick Hodgson it is all too rare an example of how competent the Chiefs can be when they step out of their comfort zone.

Liking the Kaiser Chiefs to Blur is no new idea, but the former need to stray further and more frequently from their aforementioned comfort zone if they are to continue to merit the attention they currently garner. This spikey LP is no step forward into the unknown from Leeds’ ‘Angry Mob’ and will win them few new fans; who knows if those that were lost will come crawling back.

 

Records & Merch

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