Yours Truly, Angry Mob
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Few in British indie pop have the charisma of Kaiser Chiefs' singer Ricky Wilson. The leader of this precocious quintet from Leeds, Wilson said as a youngster that he would not go to the Glastonbury Festival until he was on stage. Wilson led his band to the main stage two years ago on the back of their triumphant debut Employment, which shifted almost 3 million copies.So, to the notoriously difficult second album. That the band's influences (Madness, Blur, Pulp, the Smiths) are still transparent is not a bad thing. The first single Ruby and the likely hit Thank You Very Much are evidence. Yet it's Everything Is Average Nowadays that is the album highlight. Wilson's descriptive, introspective lyrics with a social conscience come to the fore. And there are swipes at the shallowness of pop culture.Kaiser Chiefs dodge the "second album syndrome" bullet. This is the standard version.
If your previous album was a slow-burning success story, it can be hard to be expected to hit the ground running on the follow-up. Fortunately, the Kaiser Chiefs have done just that on the fantastically titled Yours Truly, Angry Mob. Like Employment, their debut and this album's predecessor, Yours Truly... is full of radio-friendly, hook-ridden tunes that mask cunningly subversive lyrics. The Kaiser Chiefs are very much a Britpop band, which is probably why "Highroyds" opening couplet--"I remember nights out when we were young/They weren't very good, they were rubbish"--sounds like something Jarvis Cocker would sing while being backed by the boys from Blur. And it's this lyrical sentiment that's carried throughout the album, much of which is satire wrapped up in potential singles. Best of all, and a perfect example of this, is "The Angry Mob," sure to be shouted along to by exactly the people it's targeting. It's the rare band that can mock and judge its audience and still be loved by them, but that's exactly what the Kaiser Chiefs have done on Yours Truly, Angry Mob. --Ted Kord
Top Customer Reviews
First single "Ruby" is one of the ones you'll remember, especially if your name happens to be Ruby. The song has already become the band's biggest single to date, due to the cool intro and beat, but other than a lot of "da da daaas" and "ahaa, ahaa ahaas", and of course "Ruby, Ruby, Ruby, Rubys", there isn't a lot going for the song lyrically.
Second single "Everything is Average Nowadays" is another upbeat song, but there are better on the album. A track to note is "The Angry Mob", which although is actually an attack on the press, has a chorus that will stick in your head forever:
"We are the angry mob
We read the papers everyday day
We like who we like
We hate who we hate
But we're also easily swayed"
The others are "Heat Dies Down" - another great chorus; "Highroyds"; the slower paced "Love's Not a Competition (But I'm Winning)"; and the quirky "My Kind of Guy" (I like this one)
Kaiser Chiefs may have gone pop on this album, but the carefully baited hooks will have you coming back for more.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Opening the disc is the uncharacteristic mellow and melodic straight ahead love song "Ruby", the lead off single, which gave them their first UK #1. Following is "The angry mob" whose sing-a-long chorus comes after a tempo shift towards the end of the track.
"Heat dies down" is a catchy, sunny and upbeat song with a terrific guitar riff, sounding not unlike something Franz Ferdinand would do. In a similar vein is the choppy "Learnt my lesson well" with sunny sounding harmonies.
Returning to the Kaiser Chiefs we all know and love, cheeky and rebellious sounding ("Everyday I love you less & less" & "I predict a riot" anyone?) are "Highroyds", "Thank you very much", the buddy song "My kind of guy", the punk feel of "Everything is average nowadays" (the album's second single), the defiant "I can do it without you", the latter displaying their acerbic wit to the full.
Slowing things down, we get the tender acoustic "Love's not a competition (but I'm winning)", the brief piano ballad "Boxing champ", and "Try your best".
Closing is the delightful Smiths-like "Retirement", (I want to get by without the man on my back, they sing) a song we all wish we could sing. Ah!!
There are plenty of hooks to be found on "Ruby", "The Angry Mob", "Heat Dies Down", "Highroyds", "Thank You Very Much", "My Kind Of Guy", "Everything Is Average Nowadays" and "Retirement". The album is also peppered with clever observations and ironic anecdotes.
Overall, I'd give this cd 3.5 stars, as it's not as good as their debut. The sticker on the front of the cellophane said something like, "One of the Top 25 most anticipated albums of 2007". I guess not, according to its first week of sales in Billboard magazine the album only sold a paltry 17,000 copies and landed something like a 47 placement in the hot 200 albums chart, not even cracking the top 40. British music isn't always well received in America (though I prefer it to American music), and the band is obviously more successful overseas.
If you liked their first album, you will most likely like their second.