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Music Review: Kaiser Chiefs – Yours Truly, Angry Mob

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The Kaiser Chiefs’ first album, Employment, was a fun, infectious piece of Britpop that capitalized on the waning resurgence of New Wave. The band’s follow-up, Yours Truly, Angry Mob, begins promisingly enough with the track “Ruby” sounding like it could easily have been deleted from the first disc. Unfortunately, the Chiefs’ attempt at recapturing the spirit of their last release, while moving forward with an expanding sound, isn’t accomplished. The track “Heat Dies Down” for example sounds like the band is going through the “I Predict a Riot” motions, albeit with a more subdued sound (because, you know, subduing oneself equals maturity).

The sound of Employment, in fact, is fragmented across Yours Truly. The oohh-oohhs can be heard on a track like “Highroyds,” while the backbeat-driven synths are on “Thank You Very Much.” But unlike the first album, the pieces don’t add up to the same sum. In fact, there is a lot less humor on Yours Truly and a noticeable change from the upbeat, smirking tracks on its predecessor. Tracks like “Everything is Average Nowadays” and “Retirement” find the Chiefs at their most cynical.

That newfound cynicism might be a reaction to the unwavering fun on Employment, or it might be a sign of where the band is heading in the future. A song like “Retirement” certainly takes the song structure and elements found on Employment tracks on turns them on their ear. But it’s “Try Your Best” where the Kaiser Chiefs shows actual growth. It’s subdued and has its share of dread (“As far as the eye can see, is miles and miles of icy sea”), but it sounds fresher than anything else here.

Ideally, the Kaiser Chiefs won’t become sad bastards, but if the second half of Yours Truly is any indication the band has the capacity to move beyond the Britpop staples that sustained them on their debut release. Here's hoping their sophomore set proves to be a grower for the band’s style.

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