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Kaiser Chiefs - Yours Truly, Angry Mob

Kaiser Chiefs, Yours Truly, Angry Mob

Review by Jack Foley

IndieLondon Rating: 5 out of 5

THERE’S no denying that Kaiser Chiefs have a keen ear for a good melody and a sing-along chorus. Employment, their glorious and phenomenally successful debut, proved that beyond a doubt with tracks like Modern Way and I Predict A Riot.

The question was always going to be could they fill out their sound and mature with their sophomore effort?

With Yours Truly, Angry Mob the answer is a firm “yes”. The album doesn’t try and be too ambitious. It’s still rooted in Kaiser Chiefs territory and is packed with instantly catchy chart hits (lead single Ruby being primary among them).

But there are also moments of plaintive beauty that catch you off guard, while vocal duties are even handed from Ricky Wilson to drummer Nick Hodgson on one impressive effort.

It’s both an album full of big choruses and even bigger guitars, as well as a serious coming of age for one of the most exciting bands in Britain at the moment.

Things begin brightly with Ruby and it’s chanting chorus, before sweeping vigorously into This Angry Mob and its fiery condemnation of yob culture and media manipulation.

It’s evidence of the band’s strong songwriting ability, boasting sharp guitar riffs, strong underlying melodies and such lyrical pearls as “if you came here on your own, you’d be dead, it’s only cos you follow what the others do, it’s no excuse to say you’re easily led” and “we are the angry mob, we read the papers every day, we like who we like, we hate who we hate, but we’re also very easily swayed”.

Heat Dies Down and Highroyds follow along in similarly breathless fashion, sweeping you along on its “whoos” and “wheys” and hinting at the Brit-pop traditions of bands like Blur and The Smiths, as well as the early exuberance of Employment‘s Every Day I Love You Less & Less.

But just when you think the band have been resting on their laurels in penning a successful sophomore effort, they toss in a surprise and one very definite album highlight.

Love’s Not A Competition (But I’m Winning is a slow-builder of immense sweeping quality, thoughtfully delivered by Wilson and shot through with great words. It’s more Kooks that Kaiser Chiefs and a really, really nice surprise. Could it even be the band’s Wonderwall?

Thereafter, Thank You Very Much is a fast and furious guitar anthem enlivened by a punchy chorus that’s sure to become a live favourite, and I Can Do It Without You is an absolutely thrilling mid-tempo offering that’s more acoustic in focus and spearheaded by another insanely catchy chorus.

The thrilling solo midway through is also evident of the album’s firmer emphasis on guitars, while the “la, la, la’s” that accompany it are pure Brit-pop era Blur. You’ll love it.

Likewise, Everything Is Average Nowadays – surely a deliberate companion piece to Modern Life Is Rubbish, which once again encapsulates the disaffection of contemporary youth.

There’s another nice change of pace on Boxing Champ a piano-led offering that features a disarming vocal performance from Hodgson and which, sadly, only lasts for a minute and a half. It hints at so much more, though, especially on the third album.

Try Your Best, meanwhile, is a curiously atmospheric effort that contains some upbeat lyrics in spite of its sombre instrumentation. Like Boxing Champ it showcases the maturity we all hoped would be developed in the second album, whilst confirming that the Kaisers can skillfully mix the serious stuff with the feelgood.

Final track Retirement ups the tempo considerably and finishes things off in trademark style, a crashing beat pounding away in between the guitar riffs and Wilson’s distinct vocals belting out many pearls of wisdom. It’s an excellent closing salvo that confirms that Kaiser Chiefs have returned in style.

If Employment set the standard, Yours Truly, Angry Mob betters it in considerable style. We predict a riot of approval from fans and critics alike!

Download picks: The Angry Mob, Love’s Not A Competition (But I’m Winning), I Can Do It Without You, Boxing Champ, Try Your Best, Retirement

Track listing:

  1. Ruby
  2. The Angry Mob
  3. Heat Dies Down
  4. High Royds
  5. Love Is Not A Competition (But I’m Winning)
  6. Thank You Very Much
  7. I Can Do It Without You
  8. My Kind Of Guy
  9. Everything Is Average Nowadays
  10. Boxing Champ
  11. Learnt My Lesson Well
  12. Try Your Best
  13. Retirement