vendredi, mars 02, 2007

Kaiser Chiefs 2007

Not such angry young men, after all.

Kitty Empire

The Observer

Kaiser Chiefs : Yours Truly, Angry Mob (b-unique) £12.99

It's not often that students, lower-division footballers and policemen enjoy the same music. But jumping around to the Kaiser Chiefs' cautionary good-time anthem, 'I Predict a Riot', became a national pastime in 2005. The Leeds band acquired a reputation for chipperness, for soundtracking the occasions in life where only 'wooooooaah'-ing would do. They sold two million albums and bagged three Brits.

The Kaisers are not ungrateful; they spent too long in the pop wilderness before their fortunes took off. But their second album, Yours Truly, Angry Mob, clearly wants to shrug off the bonhomie of their beeriest hit.

In recent publicity photos, they're dressed all in black. Their album's title blurs the line between angry mobs, like the Daily Mail-reading, peer-pressured villains of their song, 'Angry Mob', and the band themselves.

Like the Angry Brigade before them, Leeds's Angry Mob are riled. 'Everything Is Average Nowadays,' they grumble, echoing Blur's keynote Britpop dictum, Modern Life Is Rubbish. Perhaps unwittingly, 'Everything Is Average Nowadays' also recalls a recent book, Is It Just Me or Is Everything Shit?, that - ouch! - included the Kaiser Chiefs in its list of modern malaises.

It's not that the Kaisers are wrong to carp about the state we're in. Most things are average nowadays, not least follow-up albums recorded under pressure. But this facade of high seriousness misrepresents Angry Mob, an album whose best bits are not the same as its key features.

Likewise, forget so-so single 'Ruby'. The Kaisers have far better songs such as 'Heat Dies Down', helped along by an unassailable melody. Lyrically, 'Love's Not a Competition (But I'm Winning)' finds Machiavelli's Prince by the kitchen sink: the song is a scheming heir to 'Everyday I Love You Less and Less'. The album's nicest surprise is a little piano ballad about getting beaten up, sung by songwriting drummer Nick Hodgson. There are no obvious 'Riots' on Angry Mob, but enough jaunty Britpop nouveau to keep their mob of fans happy.

Yours Truly, Angry Mob doesn't stay all that angry for all that long. When, finally, this tuneful band stop posturing and get on with what they are good at - writing snide songs about love and roustabout anthems studded with hidden wit - they seem far happier. And so are we.

Guardian Unlimited © Guardian News and Media Limited 2007