Kaiser Chiefs
Yours Truly, Angry Mob


1.5
very poor

Review

by Dave de Sylvia STAFF
February 23rd, 2007 | 39 replies


Release Date: 2007 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Yours Truly, Angry Mob is nothing more than a lazy attempt to create an album of stadium-sized anthems

Indulge me for a minute.

Go take a CD from your collection; any CD, it doesn’t matter. Open the booklet and, browsing the lyrics, try and find one song where a particular phrase is repeated four or more times in quick succession, excepting fan-baiting extended codas for obvious reasons. I’d be surprised if more than a couple of attempts actually turned up positive results because, as I’ve come to believe, it’s one of the unwritten rules of popular songwriting that you at least make an effort to vary lyrics and melodic themes in the interests of, well, justifying the listener’s continued attention.

Imagine my bewilderment, then, at the huge success of the Kaiser Chiefs’ 2005 single ‘Oh My God’, which boasts an exclamation of a chorus line repeated four times (four being the magic number of western music) without rhythmic, melodic or lyrical variation. It's the sonic equivalent of being beaten in the face with a mallet: it's unnecessary, it's unpleasant, and all you’re left with at the end is the prospect of more beatings to come. Of course this approach isn’t all bad; the single’s follow-up ‘I Predict a Riot’ was one of the year’s best singles precisely because the vocal pattern rises and falls, and is melodically strong to begin with. Across four singles, it wears remarkably thin.

Unfortunately, this magical rule of four is just as prevalent second time round. Yours Truly, Angry Mob is once again littered with would-be anthems, perfect for both the festival crowds and the pub-crawl contingent and will invite deserved comparisons with post-’96 Oasis. The album is once again produced by Stephen Street, best known for his work with The Smiths and Morrissey, but preferred by the Kaisers for his hands-on approach to Blur’s Modern Life is Rubbish and Parklife, records upon which much of Employment was styled. Yours Truly, Angry Mob can definitely be seen as that album’s successor, boasting many of the essential mod-ish and art rock elements which gave Employment its distinctive sound, but the guitars are noticeably beefier - a nod, perhaps, to the furiously indulgent Be Here Now.

Taking influence from practically every great British artist of the past forty years, from The Beatles and The Kinks through The Jam, The Smiths, Pulp, Oasis and, of course, Blur, the Kaiser Chiefs’ pedigree is second to none. One would expect, given such stellar influences, that the songwriting would be studied. Err, no. As noted, the Kaisers time and time again fall back on lazy practices such as the “mallet in face” technique described above - the rule is four is invoked on three separate tracks, twice during lead single ‘Ruby’ alone, and just as many squeak by on technicalities. The lyrics are generally poor, or rather, much less clever than they’re intended to be. ‘Love’s Not a Competition (But I’m Winning)’ is the lowliest example, a sad excuse for a Morrissey-ism, while in condemning easily-led tabloid-reading reactionaries, ‘The Angry Mob’ only serves to underline the distinction between decent satire and stating the flippin’ obvious.

There are some quality melodic moments on the CD: ‘Boxing Champ,’ songwriting drummer Nick Hodgson’s debut lead vocal, sounds like Rufus Wainwright’s ‘Hallelujah’ as interpreted by Roddy Frame, while the aforementioned ‘Love’s Not a Competition’ is an almost-perfect rendering of Knife-era Aztec Camera. ‘My Kind of Guy’ may sound as if it’s sung by DJ-turned-TV presenter Chris Tarrant, but melodically it’s spot on, referencing The Kinks and Blur with the spirit of the latter’s ‘Charmless Man’ in tow. The disconcerting introduction chords of ‘The Angry Mob’ call to mind Supergrass’ best.

On the other hand, the chorus of ‘Ruby’ is lifted almost entirely from ‘Hey Jude,’ the chorus of ‘Everything Is Average Nowadays’ is an almost exact replica of ‘Everyday I Love You Less and Less’ down to the last syllable (and repeated four times, naturally), while ‘Heat Dies Down’ bears remarkable melodic similarities (albeit sped up) to Keane’s ‘Somewhere Only We Know’ but has little of the subtlety and dynamic of that track.

I’m reluctant to question the motivations of any band for creating the music they do, especially in the Kaiser Chiefs’ case because they’ve clearly had a lot of fun making this album. However Yours Truly, Angry Mob is such a sloppily put-together album that it almost seems intentionally bad. Despite some top-quality melodies and a few witty lyrics here and there, Yours Truly, Angry Mob can’t be seen as anything more than a lazy attempt to create an album of stadium-sized anthems. It caught up with Noel Gallagher on Be Here Now, but the Kaiser Chiefs are unlikely to suffer the same fate here because, as lazy as these songs are, they’re bound to sound great with 30,000 voices behind them.

Just do me a favour: skip the record and go straight to the gig.



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user ratings (278)
Chart.
2.9
good
other reviews of this album
DaveyBoy STAFF (2.5)
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Comments:Add a Comment 
trustxdialect
February 24th 2007


1502 Comments


This sounded bad, and now it sounds worse.

Oh, and by the way...

This ain't a scene, it’s a god damn arms race
This ain't a scene, it’s a god damn arms race
(Now you)
This ain't a scene, it’s a god damn arms race
(Wear out the groove)
This ain't a scene, it’s a god damn arms race
(Sing out loud)
This ain't a scene, it’s a god damn arms race
(Oh, oh)
This ain't a scene, it's a god damn arms race


Jom
Staff Reviewer
February 24th 2007


3001 Comments


But dude didn't you get the memo - the "mallet in face" technique is one of the most well-kept secrets in the music biz today

samthebassman
February 24th 2007


2164 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Not the worst album that has come out this ear, but it ain't great.



Single "ruby" is as catchy as anything you'll hear.

ohcleverhansyou
February 24th 2007


885 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

I feared this might happen. Maybe I'll check it out, maybe not.

asheroth
February 24th 2007


130 Comments


Maybe this is the fault of the band, the genre, or my narrow music knowledge, but after reading this review I still don't know anything about the Kaiser Chiefs except that apparently they sound like or reference numerous bands that I don't know of or like. It feels like you spent the whole review name-dropping instead of putting in some useful description.

samthebassman
February 24th 2007


2164 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

They basically have a similar sound to the current crop of 80's flashback bands, eg: the killers, the futureheads, maximo park, the bravery.



All part of the new wave resurgence.

HHD87
February 24th 2007


1 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

I think this is a pretty good record. You maybe right about the lyrics, but is a really fun to listen album.



The Angry Mob is great.This Message Edited On 02.24.07

Kyle
February 24th 2007


667 Comments


Yeah, i'm staying well clear of this one.

La Revolucion
February 24th 2007


1060 Comments


I've heard the single and it's definitely one of the worst of the year so far.

Jom
Staff Reviewer
February 24th 2007


3001 Comments


I still don't know anything about the Kaiser Chiefs except that apparently they sound like or reference numerous bands that I don't know of or like.

The review did its job, then. You basically nailed it.

Oddsen
February 24th 2007


1127 Comments


nice review

Syncratic
February 24th 2007


756 Comments


I hate this band....looks like I won't be picking this up at all.

Two-Headed Boy
February 24th 2007


4527 Comments


Horrible band. The singles just somehow manage to get worse as they go.

sparkz
February 25th 2007


25 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

I like the album, its ok, but Employment was better...It still has some good songs...I like "Heat Dies Down" , "Thank you very much" and "Learnt my lesson well"

rockstar18
February 27th 2007


741 Comments

Album Rating: 1.5

I think ill stay away from this one.

benjhannah
February 27th 2007


1 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I think you've missed the mark with this album completely- I have to say that on about the 3rd listen this album was as good as Employment and on the 10th listen this album was better than employment- I don't understand why people would read a review and then say 'I'll stay away from this one- thank you!'. It's such a closed minded thing to do- this guy clearly didn't enjoy the singles off, the now classic, Employment- if you liked the Kaiser Chiefs before why would you trust this review???



Personal opinion is this album is pretty damn good- moods for everyone- It is musically more mature than Employment, however, the lyrics aren't quite up to scratch in some places. Angry Mob- is a soon-to-be-classic, and I'll prove it this time next year!



BENj

HumanCannonball
March 3rd 2007


350 Comments


"Angry Mob- is a soon-to-be-classic,"

That's very far fatched.

In my opinion it's on par with the newest Fall out boy record and candidate for worst album of the year.

La Revolucion
March 3rd 2007


1060 Comments


I don't understand why people would read a review and then say 'I'll stay away from this one- thank you!'

That's why reviews exist. So people know what to listen to.

sparkz
March 3rd 2007


25 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

"That's why reviews exist. So people know what to listen to."



I totally disagree with this comment...just because someone doesn't like it or gives it a bad review doesn't mean u wont like ii...i like this album and if i was like you, i wouldn't even give this a try, and i am glad i did.This Message Edited On 03.03.07

EcentricAgnostic
March 3rd 2007


123 Comments


I quite like this album actually.



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