Review: Kaiser Chiefs, Yours Truly, Angry Mob
You don’t have to read very many pop/rock music reviews (like this one lol) to realize that a lot of it is parroting what the reviewer thinks you’re supposed to say about one thing or another. A case in point is the knee-jerk dismissal of a UK group as being “hysterically hyped as the next big thing” by the US music press when the UK music press likes the band. This response by US music critics is so predictable it’s laughable and seems to me to tell you a lot more about the limitations of the reviewer than it tells you anything about the music. (For their part, for several years the UK music press seemed to be laboring under a law that stated that every review of a Gomez album had to contain the words “failed to live up to the promise of their Mercury winning album”.) Often the music that elicits this response from the US press addresses the life and uses the language of a young person living in the modern UK using musical styles that reference an independent and vibrant history of rock and pop that is more familiar to the UK listener than the US critic. The UK and US pop/rock markets are simply different and very often music that succeeds in one place doesn’t succeed in the other and vice versa. Big deal. No reason to get your panties in a twist.
Which hasn’t stopped the US music press from bringing out the mindless “next big thing” mantra in response to the Kaiser Chiefs’ second album “Yours Truly, Angry Mob”. The Chiefs came out of the Leeds club scene and achieved immediate noteriety when their first single reached #6 on the UK charts based solely on their rip roaring live shows and the spread of their self-produced music over the internet. They had a #6 record and hadn’t signed with a record label. Heady stuff. Their first album, “Employment”, was a success and now they’re here with their second. “Yours Truly, Angry Mob” is based in but reaches beyond the new-new wave sound (think Franz Ferdinand, The Bravery, etc.) of “Employment”. The album opens with it’s strongest tune, “Ruby” which contains big muscular guitars, compelling background vocals, punchy drum and bass recording and a king-sized killer hook. It flat out kicks ass and nothing else on the album is quite as good. Doesn’t mean the album is bad, though. With a hit debut album and anticipation high for the followup, Kaiser Chiefs could have coasted and simply provided more of the same. Instead they reach for the brass ring with an expanded musical pallette combined with carefully layered instruments and vocals and a very clean and dynamic sound. On decent equipment YTAM sounds terrific. Big, bold and in-your-face. No lo-fi indie niche for these guys. Their initial success put professional engineers and equipment at their service and they took full advantage. The Kaiser Chiefs are not trying to appeal to the US market but they are trying to appeal and for the most part they’re succeeding. YTAM isn’t an all time classic but it is a very good second album that reaches beyond the group’s first CD and shows that their early success wasn’t a fluke. Looking forward to number three.
Music from this CD can be heard on Tuned In To Music Podcast 005 – Playlist 1
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