Britain's Favourite Bright Sparks Return
I have to admit to finding the Kaiser Chiefs' over exposure in the last few years a little frustrating; I've not doubt that 'Employment' was a good album full of charismatic songs but with their faces appearing at every festival and their tunes on every station, it was overload. Thankfully comeback single, 'Ruby' is worthy of the radio play it's been receiving, the album opener is a curious little number with a restrained melody that bursts into a soaring chorus. 'High Royds' is another festival crowd pleaser, a taught tune with a growling underbelly telling the tale of the band's younger years, taking its name from a local psychiatric hospital. Backed by "whee-ooh" vocals it's a fast-paced tune that bristles with excitement and relentless energy, the only mental illness it could ever sympathise with would be ADHD!
'The Angry Mob' has a jangly punk tendency to its brisk vocals, it's an edgy delight that sees the Kaisers' characteristic hook laden sound developing into something more exciting than straightforward pop. 'Heat Dies Down' is a glorious indie thriller with the same delightful tongue in cheek street level lyrics that charmed us the first time round, "You had a local knowledge of the local area and that impressed me quite", before exploding into a blistering chorus that will get the whole dance floor moving to the shimmering guitar tune.
'Love Is Not A Competition (But I'm Winning)' is a thoughtful tune that takes a break from the frantic scramble through Northern England and ponders the most basic of emotions - love. The British bards as, as ever, eloquent about their feelings and a glassy guitar tune adds a hint of 80's electronica, a hypnotic retro twist. 'Boxing Champ' is the nearest thing to a tender ballad, of course in typical Kaiser style it's not full of flowers or chocolates but a sweet snippet reminiscing over childhood encounters, "You were a boxing champ and I was a weakling, you didn't give me a chance, you gave me a beating".
Yes, there are plenty of tunes that do nothing to enrich the album 'Thank You Very Much' and mid-tempo earthy number, 'I Can Do It Without You' could, well, be done without as they do little in the way of inspiring the listener, but that's not to say that they're in any way dull songs, just mediocre when squeezed between so many radiant hits. 'My Kind of Guy' recalls the theatrical elements of 'I Predict A Riot' in its nervous rippling keys and vamping guitar riffs, which are overtaken by a snarling, looming overdriven riff. 'Learnt My Lesson Well' mixes the same grungy guitar tone with a chorus so buoyant and full of synth charm that the Beach Boys would just love to bathe in its glowing aura.
'Try Your Best' is an ambitious epic, which starts with a simple refrain but builds to a snow-topped peak, striving for hallucinogenic atmospherics matched incongruously with dirty guitar tones.
No the band haven't changed sound, but who'd want them to? An album of morose liturgies just wouldn't be Kaiser, that cheeky, well-educated working class vibe still underlines the album but 'Yours Truly, Angry Mob' is a fascinating album, full of character and characters. While other streetwise groups like Arctic Monkeys tell us tales of the streets, Kaiser Chiefs re-enact them in vibrant colour before your eyes.