KAISER CHIEFS – Yours Truly, Angry Mob (B Unique)
First impressions are very important, and so when I first saw the dull, uninspired sleeve for the new Kaiser Chiefs album my expectations immediately plummeted. Still, I gave them a chance, and while there are no ‘I Predict A Riot’s or ‘Oh My God’s on this one, the songs do show some maturity while still retaining the exuberance which made their debut so outstanding. When I first heard lead single ‘Ruby’ I was not that impressed, feeling that the band had gone for a far too commercial sound, but even I must admit that it is a grower, and this seems to be my impression of the album as a whole. Many of the songs take longer to get into than those on ‘Employment’, but give them a few listens and things will suddenly click into place. The band have moved on lyrically as well, with many of the songs documenting the ups and downs of modern life. ‘The Angry Mob’ in particular seems to be a diatribe against the working class male who spends his life drinking and fighting, while ‘Highroyds’ is a snapshot of Ricky Wilson’s youth spent living on a housing state and frequenting clubs after school. ‘Love’s Not A Competition (But I’m Winning)’ is the first time that we get a breather, and is the Kaisers doing a love song – a departure in itself, but touchingly done. ‘Thank You Very Much’ sounds very much like it was written from experience, being the tale of a band cornered in their dressing room by a clingy fan who won’t let them go, while ‘I Can Do It Without You’ mourns the fact the things never seem the same when you return home after a long absence. New single ‘Everything Is Average Nowadays’ is another one of their effortlessly tossed off pop ditties, which will surely top the charts, while the most surprising song on here has to be ‘Boxing Champ’. This short piano/vocal track shows a side to the band that we have never heard before, being a genuinely touching tribute to a boyhood influence. Then before we have a chance to get too maudlin they come charging back with ‘Learnt My Lesson Well’. ‘Retirement’ aptly closes this record with Ricky’s regret that he did not invent a world-changing product so that he could retire and live life without ‘the man’ on his back. First impressions do count for a lot, and I would have liked to have seen this album housed in a sleeve which did it justice, but listen to the music and hear a band who have taken the conscious effort to mature and start writing about things that matter to them.