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First among sequels
Pressure? What pressure? Kaiser Chiefs are back with a new record that makes nonsense of all that difficult second album stuff.
Peter Murphy, 23 Feb 2007
I have to congratulate you,” Kaiser Chiefs drummer Nick Hodgson says as I’m getting up to leave.
“You’re the first guy today who didn’t use the word ‘pressure’.”
There goes that trusty difficult second album angle then. Kaiser Chiefs’ Yours Truly, Angry Mob takes up exactly where its million-plus selling predecessor Employment left off. Stephen Street’s back behind the desk at Oxfordshire’s Hook End Manor, and there’s a noticeable absence of free jazz odysseys or excursions into Romanian folk music, just more hi-octane tunes that manage to satirise boot-boy herd mentalities (and mentallers) while co-opting terrace slogans.
Case in point: the default title track’s refrain of “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”. The Leeds band have been chewing on the same irony tablets Nirvana ingested on ‘In Bloom’ and spewing out infectious tunes tailor cut for the kind of goons who might previously have kicked their authors heads in of a Friday night. And, it must be said, the Kaisers do weekend rumble scenarios exceedingly well: their minor classic ‘I Predict A Riot’, all ? & The Mysterians organ and shouty Sham 69 vocals, was arguably the finest song about urban aggro since The Jam’s ‘Down In The Tube Station At Midnight’.
That said, even their most downbeat lyrics ( ‘Everything Is Average Nowadays’) are borne aloft by gung-ho melodies. This writer loves Unknown Pleasures and The Holy Bible as much as the next runny-mascara’d basket case, but there’s something to be said for pop music that makes you feel like getting out of bed rather than hiding under it. Life’s hard enough without consumptive poet laureates picking at the bellybutton fluff of the soul in order to determine the precise colour of their pain.
“Too right,’ Hodgson says. “I was just reading a Bloc Party interview on the way over here. It made me feel gloomy!”