Kaiser Chiefs’ teenage fanbase is unlikely to be disappointed by Yours Truly…, which is packed to the brim with the sort of singalong anthems that made their first album such a resounding commercial success.
Despite possessing a trio of undeniably catchy singles, I have to confess that the Kaiser Chiefs’ debut album, Employment, left me a little cold. The band had undoubtedly lifted a few impressive melodic ideas from the Britpop songbook, but, for me at least, the album as a whole was seriously lacking the musical invention and lyrical bite that distinguished the best work of Blur and Pulp (and, for that matter, The Auteurs, Suede and Supergrass).
Still, Kaiser Chiefs’ teenage fanbase is unlikely to be disappointed by Yours Truly…, which is packed to the brim with the sort of singalong anthems that made their first album such a resounding commercial success. The first single and lead-off track, ‘Ruby’, utilises the classic Kaiser Chiefs template: hook-laden guitar pop with an instantly memorable chorus. This same basic format, with one or two minor alterations, is deployed by the band throughout the album: ‘The Angry Mob’ is energetic, Bowie-esque rock; ‘Heat Dies Down’ is an ‘I Predict A Riot’-style stomper; while ‘High Royds’ is spiky, angular punk.
Although the tunes have plenty of vigour and aggression, as with Employment, Britpop veterans will feel more than a little sense of déjà vu; the nadir is reached on ‘Everything Is Average Nowadays’, the title of which is basically a direct re-write of Blur’s 1992 album Modern Life Is Rubbish (one anticipates the next Chiefs LP will feature tracks called ‘Life In The Park’ and ‘A House In The Country’). Much more satisfying are the occasional left-field turns the album takes. Particularly impressive are the short piano-and-vocal composition ‘Boxing Champ’, which sounds like REM, the oddball art-pop of ‘My Kind Of Guy’ and the epic ‘Try Your Best’, which builds from a downbeat piece of electro ambience into a wall of noise, featuring a blistering guitar solo from Andrew White.
Best of all, though, is the wonderful acoustic number ‘Love’s Not A Competition’, which, with its icy, atmospheric keyboard notes and sharp lyric, might just be the best song Kaiser Chiefs have written to date. If only the album featured more moments of similar quality. Nonetheless, the pogoing contingent at the summer festivals will have precious little to complain about.
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