Somehow I missed the Kaiser Chiefs craze. I guess I was too busy listening to the Killers’ Hot Fuss and Franz Ferdinand’s You Could Have It So Much Better when their debut album Employment came out in 2005. It was only a few weeks ago that I heard the album’s anthem “I Predict A Riot.” I was in Forever21, a trendy discount clothing store known for ripping off designer duds. You can find cute dresses for a quarter of what you’d pay elsewhere, but, of course, the fabric is flimsy, and most of the stuff looks low-priced. Cheap is the operative word.
That’s how I feel about at the material on the Kaiser Chiefs new album Yours Truly, Angry Mob.
While the Leeds band might get compared to Blur-after all, Stephen Street produced both bands – the Kaiser Chiefs lack the lyrical depth and musical maturity to draw an audience with sophisticated taste. Instead, they feel like a knock-off version of Blur-era Brit pop, or worse, Buzzcocks imposters. But, because it’s accessible, sing-along pop, the album is sure to appeal to simpler fans, and with lyrics like “Just teenagers testing their courage/Standing outside the nightclubs in the snow/Is not very cool or impressive/They let in all the girls from the year below/No need for IDs with those dresses,” maybe that’s the crowd the band is speaking to.
The album’s well-hyped single “Ruby,” which hit No. 1 on the U.K. charts, could use a better hook (“Ruby, Ruby, Ruby, Ruby/Do you? do you? do you? do you?/Know what you’re doing (doing) to me?”), “The Angry Mob” isn’t tough enough, and the ballad “Love’s Not a Competition (But I’m Winning)” falls flat. It’s hard to listen to this album the whole way through and even more difficult to find a song that isn’t flawed. You can try “Ruby” but, ultimately, the band sums it up in the song title “Everything is Average Nowadays.” It’s a thin album that will likely fall apart after a few washes.