Kaiser Chiefs - Yours Truly, Angry Mob

2007-06-01 09:26
If music were just music, there’d be a lot to like about Kaiser Chiefs part II. But music is also a part of a rather scary thing called marketing, and that doesn’t work in the Chiefs’ favour this time around.

The concept of Yours Truly, Angry Mob is that the album is a sort of letter addressed from the Angry Mob – you can tell by the way the Chiefs stare angrily from the cover. They’re so angry they could just shit. And presumably they’re a mob. And the album title is like the end of a letter. See?

As far as we can tell, that’s pretty much where most of the mob angriness stops. It’s hard to imagine that the label agreed to mistake cynical britpop for angry countercultural angst, as is the case on this album. The issue does, however, raise an angry question: Is it really necessary to dress benign pop music in the colours of some sort of cultural revolution? The angry mob in question here looks more like a call to arms in the name of some historic national leader – like an army general or something.

Yours Truly, Angry Mob spends an awful lot of musical effort on rallying the troops. Almost every track on this sophomore effort is anthemic by design. There should be (fashionably-dressed) teenagers bouncing up and down in front of this stage, this dj, this hifi – hell, even this car stereo. “Everything Average Now” sounds like a commercial for some sugary soft drink, complete with laughing, smiling models on a road-trip, ecstatically washing the dust of their gap year down while dubiously enacting the “adventurous taste of fun”.

There is a contemptuous bite to that fun, admittedly. The music may be bright and singable, but the songs presented leave an off-colour tinge at the death. Maybe it has to do with the comically bitter and sometimes absurd lyrics, which feel more self-referential than is healthy: "We are the angry mob / we read the papers every day / We like who we like, we hate who we hate / But we’re also easily swayed.”

Were I a rabid fan I’d consider that a slap across the cheek. But you’re more likely to find the (fashionably-dressed) bouncing gappers shouting this at the top of their lungs at the concert, seemingly unaware of the conceit of it all. None of this, dear friends, is worth the allusion to “rebellion”.

And yet, aside from the weird marketing strategy, there’s nothing really awfully wrong with Angry Mob. In fact, there are some corkers for your next dance party, like the opener “Ruby”, and the Spandau Ballet-esque “When The Heat Dies Down”.

Producer Stephen Street is on song as always, producing an album that focuses on the strengths of the artist. In this case it’s the ability to create hooks that fashionable teenagers will love, much like Street’s former charges The Cranberries and the similarly derisive Morrissey, ironically.

- Anton Marshall
Not quite sure why this is being sold to us as angry, rebellious music. It’s about as anarchistic as The Muppets on valium. Actually, I'd buy that record, so… yeah, wait. What was the question?

saturnz 2007/05/31 6:41 PM
nicely written This is a much better review of this album than the one I did in my blog. I was actually unaware of the marketing since I downloaded this album and didn't actually take note of the album name, song names or simply where it fits into the context of the brit music scene. I just listened to the album and enjoyed it, although it wasn't brilliant, like the two Arctic Monkeys releases, it was certainly a better sound than their first album.
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