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Hot on the heels of second album Yours Truly, Angry Mob, the Kaiser Chiefs released their third album Off With Their Heads in 2008. The album in general followed the same indie-pop lines as the band's previous two efforts, but you get the sense that the band is trying to branch out and try to be a little different.
As usual, the Kaiser Chiefs make heavy use of guitars and indie-style vocals similar to Britpop bands like Blur or Pulp. Indeed, the band has often been described as a modern-day Britpop band for the naughties. Energetic guitar pop is still the order of the day in tracks such as Always Happens Like That and Can't Say What I Mean. The standout track is Never Miss a Beat, which sounds a little like Everyday I Love You Less and Less from Employment or Heat Dies Down from Yours Truly, Angry Mob.
Some tracks do take a different slant, though. Spanish Metal has, as the name suggests, a slight Spanish influence and a metal-esque chorus, though it's not really metal, it just sounds like an indie-pop band trying to do metal (which it is). The indie-style lyrics are a giveaway. Strangely, I find that this song, as well as the last one (Remember You're A Girl), sounds a little like The Beatles.
You Want History sounds a bit like 80s pop without the synths, while Half the Truth - bizarrely - includes a rap. Good Days Bad Days reminds me strongly of the nursery rhyme "Ten Little Speckled Frogs", which may or may not be intentional. I'm not sure how well these sounds really work. They don't feel like a natural progression to me, they feel a bit forced.
On the other hand, the lyrics are just as random and quirky as usual. From Never Miss A Beat's "What do you want for tea? I want crisps", to Can't Say What I Mean's statement that "nothing is so important that it can't be shortened to fit on a badge", once again the lyrics make the album worth listening to repeatedly.
1. Spanish Metal
2. Never Miss a Beat
3. Like It Too Much
4. You Want History
5. Can't Say What I Mean
6. Good Days Bad Days
7. Tomato In the Rain
8. Half the Truth
9. Always Happens Like That
10. Addicted to Drugs
11. Remember You're a Girl
Overall, I don't like this album as much as the Kaiser Chiefs' previous efforts, though it has grown on me since I first got it. In general the songs aren't as catchy and I'm not always convinced by the musical styles. Still, there are some good tunes here and some great lyrics as always. I would give the album three and a half stars, but I can't, so I'm going to round it up to four.
Kaiser Chiefs burst onto the scene in 2005 with the huge and brilliant "Employment" album, and despite having been formed almost a decade earlier they still managed to have a fresh sound that combined catchy vocal hooks with indie rock guitar riffs and left you chanting along with them. With tracks like "Oh My God" the band made a very quick impact into the British music scene and their following grew quickly form their home city of Leeds to that of a national sensation. Although the British charts started to get flooded with similar sounding "guitar lead indie rock" the band stood out for their fun lyrics and energetic style.
Following on from "Employment" the band showed a significant drop in quality in the difficult second album, the 2007 release "Yours Truly, Angry Mob", which although showed glimpses of the bands debut showed more signs of a band wanting to grow up too soon. The hit "Ruby" was the major light in the album whilst the rest was pretty unmemorable on the whole and the bands momentum was slowed.
In 2008 the band recorded and released "Off With Their Heads" which peaked at #2 in the UK (equalling the highest place of "Employment", and standing 1 chart place behind "Yours Truly, Angry Mob") and contained 10 tracks. The band, lead by vocalist Ricky Wilson also includes Andrew White on guitar, Simon Rix on Bass, Nick Raines on the Keyboard and Nick Hodgson on drums as well a host of studio musicians and a few special guests.
The album opens with "Spanish Metal" a throw back to the bands fun days that quickly allows you to remember what the band once were. Although the song depends on heavier musical sounds than their early work the vocal delivery will have you tapping your toes at points though not as much as the albums brilliant second track. "Never Miss a Beat", which charted at #5 in the UK featured Lily Allen doing backing vocals and the hugely acclaimed producer Mark Ronson behind it's production. The track is a complete throw back to when the band broke through, quick sharp lines with fun emanating through them that carry the track. It's a great example of fun being a more important part to a good track than flat out talent.
The fun continues into the album with the anthem-like "Like It Too Much", which although not quite as fun is brilliant to listen to and with some clever lyrics that just sound wonderful when sang out loud. It seems from the early part of this album as though the band quickly re-established themselves as a band that wanted to stand out from the crowd and instead of trying to sound intellectual (a'la Coldplay) or depressed (Keane, Snow Patrol) they wanted to sound happy. Thankfully the album continues deeper in with this fun attitude and "You Want History" manages to carry on the trend though does on it's own sound a little too repetitive.
"Can't Say what I Mean" manages to again sound fun, fresh and original and manages to avoid the problem of over repeating it's hook whilst driving it's self at a fast tempo with lots of great fun images. The album then slows down a little bit with "Good Days Bad Days" which although decent enough to listen to is most certainly filler material in all honesty (despite being released as the second single from the disk) though one that has one of the weirdest twists on the album at the start of the 3rd verse. "Tomato in the Rain" probably wins the title for the most bizarre title for a track (though is given a good run for it's money by "Addicted to Drugs"), and is also one of the slower tracks on the album, allowing you to catch you're breath. Just don't take too much notice of the lyrics as they are just odd in places, but yet harmless enough.
"Half the Truth" is possibly the albums best hidden gem and one of the tracks that's most worth downloading if you buy tracks on services like iTunes or Amazon's MP3 store. The track is off the rails and fun, yet clever and shows signs of musical intelligence that the band often hide. The hook is brilliant, the lyrics are eclectic and the delivery is fantastic by both Wilson and guest rapper Sway DaSafo who places a small but wonderful part in the track. Lily Allen returns alongside producer Mark Ronson for the 9th track on the album "Always Happens Like That" although you can tell the band are running a little out of steam with the track it's a more than acceptable track to start to close the album off with.
"Addicted To Drugs" again sees the involvement of Ronson, this time playing the agogo bells and although definite filler material you can't help but feel the band can get away with it after so many great tracks on the disk that has easily out shined "Yours Truly, Angry Mob" and shown theirs still like in the Kaiser Chiefs. The album bows out with the relatively reserved "Remember you're a Girl", a slow and relatively soft ending to an album that sailed high and came down nicely.
After feeling really disappointed with the previous album this was a more than welcome surprise and cost just 99p from The Works, a true bargain.
The Kaiser Chief's return for their third studio album and attempt to follow up their second album which had the massive hit Ruby on it. I don't think they've been able to create such a radio friendly single this time around but it's still an enjoyable album nonetheless. Here are my opinions about some of the better tracks off the album!
(2) Never miss a beat - the first single released off the album, I like it but I think that many people thought it wasn't that good compared to Ruby but after listening to it more I really like this song.
(3) Like it too much - this was one of my favourite songs off their live set. It builds up to the chorus which I can never seem to get out of my head after listening to it.
(4) You want history - quite a funky song, not the best off the album but still one of the better ones.
(6) Good days bad days - the second single released off the album, this is definitely one of the best songs off the album. Very catchy.
(7) Tomato in the rain-a slower song, but definitely one of my favourite songs, the chorus is really great.
(8) Half the truth - a more fast paced song, its very catchy and the chorus is really good, I can tell as I can't get it out of my head.
This is the third album from the Kaiser Chiefs. It's a bit different from the previous two albums and they have commented that they tried to take a more electronic approach this time. It's a must buy if you like them. Many people will have only bought the second album for the number one hit, Ruby but any Kaiser Chiefs fan will appreciate the effort that they have put into this album and the fact that they have tried to make it a little different.
Arguably, as one of Britain's current top bands, the Kaiser Chiefs ultimately tricky 3rd album "Off With Their Heads" had to be a belter in order to retain their high status.
After seeing them perform "Like It Too Much" live on Jools Holland in 2008, I was certain that they had nailed it. Musically they have moved on from their previous two albums, with the use of witty lyrics, a very matured sound, a few Beatle-esque string arrangements and the quirkiness that we all know and love. I genuinely think this album is their best.
Listening to the album for the first time, I was literally blown away. Immediately, i noticed how much the album reminded me of The Beatles. This was their new sound, and boy it was amazing.
The stand-out songs for me were Spanish Metal, Like It Too Much, Never Miss A Beat, You Want History, Cant Say What I Mean, Good Days Bad Days, Tomato In The Rain, Always Happens Like That, Half the Truth, Addicted to Drugs and Remember You're A Girl.
...Oh dear, I seem to have listed the whole album. And don't think that I'm joking. It's not often that you hear an album without at least one dodgy song. The album is a mixture of 5 or 6 massive, single worthy tracks, a sprinkling of those famous quirky tunes, and a handful of beautifully delicate songs. Not even an album filler in sight.
After thoroughly enjoying both their first and second albums, I was thrilled that they had managed to better themselves once again. For me this was one of the best album's of 2008, in there with Only By The Night. I urge you all to go out and buy it. Now.
Disc #1 Tracklisting
1 Spanish Metal
2 Never Miss A Beat
3 Like It Too Much
4 You Want History
5 Can't Say What I Mean
6 Good Days Bad Days
7 Tomato In The Rain
8 Half The Truth
9 Always Happens Like That
10 Addicted To Drugs
11 Remember You're A Girl