Album Review Kaiser Chiefs - Yours Truly, Angry Mob

By no means all things to all men, Kaiser Chiefs do what they do better than anyone else.

There’s got to be a reason second albums are so bloody difficult. Perhaps the weight of expectation, the fact that often a band will only have ten minutes to record the thing between tours, or the endless need for another backlash play a part. Then again, perhaps it’s actually our fault.

It’s an odd argument, especially with the lukewarm response Bloc Party’s recent sophomore effort received from some rather picky quarters after leaking months before release, but sometimes albums need to be lived with a while to really hit their stride. Take Kaiser Chiefs as an example; all but a couple of tracks from ‘Employment’ had been doing the rounds for months in some form or another. By the time it actually hit the shelves they were like old friends. Not too familiar, fresh enough to still be new, but recognisable enough to get lodged in the back of the brain.

Success makes such things impossible, however. File sharing, album leaks, spotty teenagers and their torrents - if you even try to give a taster it’ll be hitting your album sales within seconds. Fine for some, but when you’re one of the biggest bands in the country? You try telling your label why you’ve just lost 10,000 units. Sad, but true. Of course, there’s always one way to get new songs in the ears of the right people; play them live, something t’Chiefs have been doing for going on a year now. Not everyone can pull it off, sure, but when you’ve got the kind of ammo contained on ‘Yours Truly Angry Mob’, there’s no chance of people getting bored. Don’t be fooled, this is an album that matches its multi-million selling predecessor blow for blow, before (quite probably) wrapping a trolley round it’s head and spitting on the bloodied remains. It appears all that Bruce Lee stuff that started on tour with the band last year has gone to their heads. Kaiser Chiefs just got tough.

There’s still a flash of that cheeky Britpop grin, but ‘The Angry Mob’ does it while carrying the metaphorical pitchfork and flaming torch. Satisfyingly crunchy, packed to the brim with hook lines and pseudo-choruses, by the time the refrain kicks in, it’s like a jackhammer to the head. ‘Heat Dies Down’ and ‘Highroyds’ do all the things ‘Everyday I Love You Less And Less’ and ‘I Predict A Riot’ did effortlessly, the former rattling along like a runaway train of pop coming off its tracks (err, quite - Ed), while ‘Everything Is Average Nowadays’ was quite blatantly born a crowd baiting, call-and-answer anthem. To say they’ve come back with the tunes in tow would be somewhat of an understatement.

It’s the bits that nobody expects that really make ‘Yours Truly Angry Mob’ stand out, though. ‘Love’s Not A Competition (But I’m Winning)’ may be Kaiser Chiefs dropping things down a gear, but it’s nothing like ‘You Can Have It All’ was. A semi acoustic, atmospheric slow burner, packed with layers and previously unheard of twinkly bits, it’s matched by the almost epic ‘Try Your Best’; quite probably t’Chiefs answer to ‘Champagne Supernova’. The boundaries of music may not be troubled too much, but those of a Northern pop band are positively straining.

Despite it all, it’s fair to say that ‘Yours Truly..’ isn’t the album that will win over the doubters. Even ‘OK Computer’ MK II wouldn’t do that for some, and as such it doesn’t even try, they’re hideously outnumbered anyway. To call this an album for the people, about the people would sound ridiculously contrived, but also remarkably close to the mark. By no means all things to all men, Kaiser Chiefs do what they do better than anyone else. Give this a chance to get into your head, and you’ll have your proof.

 

Records & Merch

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