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Kaiser Chiefs

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  • Yours Truly Angry Mob,
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    Kaiser Cheifs

    Employment 7 ( 2005 )
    Every Day I Love You Less And Less / I Predict A Riot / Modern Way / Na Na Na Na Naa / You Can Have It All / Oh My God / Born To Be A Dancer / Saturday Night / What Did I Ever Give You / Time Honoured Tradition / Caroline, Yes / Team Mate

    Blur launched Britpop, or at least 'made' Britpop with 'Modern Life Is Rubbish' and 'Park Life'. They had this combination of XTC, Kinks, etc, etc. It was a combination of influences not neccesarily put together in the same package before. Especially as Blur added their own personality to the music they were creating. The problem with bands like Kaiser Chiefs is they are taking influences from bands that were influenced by other bands. Eg, a little Blur, a little bit Futureheads, a little bit this and that. The electro influences are common with a lot of bands these days, throw a bit of 80s kitsch onto the record, you know? It comes across as a dot to dot of how to make a cool sounding record. The problem is, with nothing personality wise coming from the band, what is there to distinguish them from other new bands that have popped up lately? Even the derivative likes of Interpol and Futureheads have at least something to make them slightly distinctive in the modern market-place. Everyone wants to be the new Franz Ferdinand, it seems. Kaiser Chiefs aren't the new Franz Ferdinand, in fact, to be fair to them, i've never read that they ever wanted to be. But, they are a typical corporate creation. An indie-creation, which never used to happen during indie music's halycon days in the 1980s. Having said all of this, there is nothing terribly wrong with the music created on this debut album of theirs. It's light, modern music with a touch of humour and a definite way with a melody and hook. Nothing original at all, but it will pass the time if you aren't too selective and haven't already got Franz Ferdinand or Futureheads. Or, perhaps you do have those records and want more, as hey, you don't really listen to soul music, or 60s, 70s music and this whole scene actually IS new to you? I have the disadvantage of age. When music first hits you, everything is new. Whether it actually is, or not. It's a process we all go through. When I was 12/13, it was The Stone Roses, Happy Mondays, Ride, etc, etc. My elder brother could see what Ride were doing and their obvious Jesus and Mary Chain influences. I couldn't, at the time. I'm still fond of all of those bands, some stood the test of time better than others. The same will be true of todays crop of bands. Will Kaiser Chiefs be amongst the crop that stand the test of time? Well, only time will tell. I'm doubtful, personally. There have been better albums in this vein released in the past few years, already.

    Highlights? Well, the first two songs, both singles. Both firmly in the Futureheads/XTC/Jerky New Wave mold. Both get irritating with repeated listens, something I didn't find with Futureheads. I'm not sure what the main difference is, I couldn't say. It's just something that I find, through repeated listens. The lyrics on the likes of 'Time Honoured Tradition' seem deliberately quirky, but I just don't believe in the lyrics, they don't ring true. 'Na Na Na Na Naa' has good melodies, 'Saturday Night' is a firm highlight, more in the Franz Ferdinand strain than the Futureheads strain, a melody nicked from some 80s pop song and a mix of harder hitting sounds. It's a decent track. Um, the album tails off during the second half generally, though. A case of not enough different ideas or sounds, the album becomes tiresome. Still, I can't not pass comment on 'Caroline, Yes'. A clear nod to The Beach Boys 'Caroline, No', but the song itself doesn't link back, at all. Well, it doesn't have to, I suppose. Just that the title appears to be a gratuitous nod at an apparent cool listening habit to please the music critics. It's annoying. Not too important really, though. Just thought i'd mention it. The closing 'Team Mate' is a rare slower song. It goes absolutely nowhere at all, Kaiser Chiefs work better with the high energy, fun moments. Nothing serious, nothing to get too offended by. Just a decent enough album that probably won't change anybodies lives, but may just pass an enjoyable enough hour or so after you've put away your Franz Ferdinand records.

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    Readers Comments

    Jim Johnston Glasgow
    Neither deserves the claims of genius or the bad reviews it has received. Mostly enjoyable album. Born To Be A Dancer a thing of wonder, the tune, lyrics and vocals perfect, in my opinion, still by far the best song they have ever done. I can't bear to hear the singles now, overplayed to death, with the exception of Modern Way, that song must have something, as I still enjoy it, after hearing it many times. Overall, 7/10.

    Dave Cape Town
    I think this an underrated album. Strong melodies, fantastic energy and some really big tracks like Modern Way (love the "faking it everyday chorus). Its kinda prozac indie, but not music for the purist - which Mr Denning is.

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    Yours Truly Angry Mob( 2007 )
    Ruby / The Angry Mob / Heat Dies Down / High Royds / Love Is Not A Competition / Thank You Very Much / I Can Do Without You / My Kind Of Guy / Everything Is Average Nowawdays / Boxing Champ / Learnt My Lesson Well / Try Your Best / Retirement

    Everybodies happy nowadays to have mediocre music, especially from their favourite acts because they'll be another one along next week when we lose interest. We don't care, Kaiser Chiefs have tried to tackle this malaise by releasing a song titled 'Everything Is Average', which is a snappy title, a decent song surprisingly as the band appear, shockingly, to have grown. True, it's a piece of Futureheads/Franz Ferdinand styled angular rock, but whatever. Seemingly, the general public can't get enough of early XTC. Which is odd, because XTC are precisely the one band not benefitting from all of this rampant love-in for the post-punk, new wave scene. The Kaisers appear to have put more effort in both lyrically and musically this time around, though. Lyrically they appear to actually have something to say, witness 'The Angry Mob' or indeed 'Everything Is Average Nowadays'. Musically, they seem slightly more refined and a little less dumb with their riffs and guitar lines than before. The rhythm section sound lumpen and clumsy, but we can't have everything now, can we? There was nothing as good as 'Love Is Not A Competition' on 'Employment', certainly not as good for an apparent piece of album filler. It's good enough to be no such thing, the lyrics being about something married to acoustic/semi-acoustic guitars work very well. 'High Royds' is more familiar territory, a chantable anthem in the making. 'Try Your Best' is initially a dreary ballad and it appears that's one area they still need to work on, but now we want to stick around to find out if they succeed. That's an imporant difference, I feel.

    The quirky lyrics and populist melodies of 'Learnt My Lesson Well' reminds one of 'Modern Life Is Rubbish' by Blur. It's a similarly bouncy type of song that would have fit with a little lyrical tweaking right in on 'Modern Life Is Rubbish'. We can also sing-a-long with 'Thank You Very Much' and suddenly it hits home. The Kaiser Chiefs sound relaxed, they sound happy and have retained a lot of their bite for the tricky 2nd album set. The base obviousness of several tunes on the debut isn't present at all here on 'Yours Truly'. Even lead single 'Ruby' completely fails to be irritating whilst at the same time providing a pleasant listen for three minutes or so. The album suffers under the weight of filler dotted here and there, but it's all listenable. I hope the album does well, although outselling the three million plus copies of 'Employment' is always going to be a tough ask for a band now on the road to somewhere. Let's hope it's somewhere creatively interesting and commercially lasting. It would be nice to think that will be the case, but perhaps i'm an eternal optimist.

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    Readers Comments

    Stephen Murphy writeme@stephenmurphy.com
    Hilariously, the Kaisers were on the Culture show railing against 'the mainstream' and how 'everything is average'. This is now two albums in a row which are essentially EPs with loads of filler. This band are reasonably accomplished, far too po-faced in interview and frankly, not very inspired. They are well and truly on the new-wave XTC bandwagon (lets hear their 'Sklylarking' material thn, eh, eh!!!) and weirdly are punning in their name on the same political background as Franz ferdinand. Its fine to be vanilla floor fillers, kaisers, but don't accuse others of your crimes. Ruby sounds like a teenage jam session. be dull if you want, just don't get mad when others do the same. Don't sit in a car and moan about the traffic!

    Lee Foster Thebeestonpoet@aol.com
    recently got alot of new albums from alot of artists latest offerings an for some reason this was the album which i wanted to play 1st by a mile . even though i dont think these are the best. it just shows that you know what to expect an they give something you will enjoy . they are definetly a capable band who make interesting an catchy pop/rock .. i hear some kinks in the BOXING CHAMP song which is similar to KILLERS EYES . i do tend to hear something else from someone else in most of there songs . but so what . they are what they are an i enjoy playing em . an plus they are from leeds!

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    Off With Their Heads 8 ( 2008 )
    Spanish Metal / Never Miss a Beat / Like It Too Much / You Want History / Can't Say What I Mean / Good Days Bad Days / Tomato in the Rain / Half the Truth / Always Happens Like That / Addicted to Drugs / Remember You're a Girl

    Two things, one you'll likely know and the other you almost certainly won't unless you're a fan from America. Firstly then 'Off With Their Heads' was produced by Mark Ronson. Secondly, Kaiser Chiefs are signed to Motown Records in the good old US of A. Sorry if you were drinking coffee at the time and now have splurted it out of your mouth and across your living room but it's true, astonishingly. What Mark and Kaisers have done is got rid of the peaks and troughs, to an extent, to try and present to us an album of peaks. They've partially succeeded in the fact this is easily the most consistent Chiefs set to date. Their is nothing as obvious as either 'Ruby' or earlier Kaiser Chiefs singles, which if you have any taste whatsoever, is clearly a good thing. It's resulted in a strange shift, poorer reviews in the UK yet better reviews in the US. Well, the Americans never were as driven by trends as us Brits appear to be, your good host excepted, of course.

    So, as well as minor hit single 'Never Miss A Beat', 'Like It Too Much', 'Good Days, Bad Days', 'Half The Truth' and 'Addicted To Drugs' could all be future singles. Let's put this into perspective, though. Yes, 'Ruby' hit number one in the UK. Yes, 'I Predict A Riot' charted inside the UK top 40 on no less than five seperate occasions. 'Never Miss A Beat' still reached number 6, which is hardly poor and any of the tunes i've just mentioned above 'Off With Their Heads' would be solid top-twenty entries, no worse in fact than the majority of Kaiser Chief singles. Excuse my indulgence here, but I feel I need to make a point in light of the NME and UK press sticking the knife into Kaiser Chiefs when it's blatantly clear to all but the cloth-eared that 'Off With Their Heads' is easily their best album so far.

    The songs are sleeker and the arrangements slicker. Theirs small amounts of invention, not a lot, but just enough to keep things interesting. We don't want or require are favourite sons from Leeds to suddenly turn into Radiohead. A couple of other songs deserve a mention. 'Always Happens Like That' sees the Kaiser Chiefs move away from 'Black Sea' by XTC towards 'English Settlement', always a welcome move. Meanwhile, the closing 'Remember You're A Girl' is like something from XTCs 'Murmer', a mellow slice of loveliness sung by the Chiefs drummer, of all people. More like this in the future please, guys! No, they never will make a 'Skylarking', but as long as they continue to evolve they'll be fine. Revolutions never helped anyone. Well, never helped anyone from Leeds, at any rate.

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    this page last updated 10/04/09

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