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Proving themselves

Kaiser Chiefs - Yours Truly, Angry Mob
4 1/2 stars (out of 5 stars)
Reviewed: May 28, 2007
Kaiser Chiefs

Review by Andy Argyrakis

Two years ago, the U.K.'s Kaiser Chiefs debuted to unbelievable press praise and endless fanfare thanks to a series of incendiary live shows in prominent settings such as the SxSW Festival and the NME Brats tour with Bloc Party, The Futureheads and The Killers. Thanks to the infectious singles "I Predict a Riot" and "Modern Way," the band was instantly added to radio and ushered in the latest revival of bands inspired by The Jam, The Smiths and just about everyone else with "The" in its moniker that happened to hail from England. And now that it's time for the sophomore effort, all eyes have again turned towards the band, though like any act tapping the well for the second time, the glances are filled with much more scrutiny and skepticism.

Yet even the most bitterly suspect could agree that the Kaiser Chiefs not only survived the dreaded "slump" period, but passed the test with flying colors, building upon its hook and harmony heavy sounds of the debut, while digging even deeper with individuality to merge the worlds of Brit pop, dance rock and good old fashioned rock n' roll. Evidence comes in ample amounts, from the gritty guitar crunch of "Ruby" to the foot stomping "The Angry Mob" to the melodic masterpiece "Thank You Very Much."

Rather than leaning too heavily on its influences, the record also captures a newly refined personality carved out through ceaseless touring, along with occasional unpredictable elements. "Love's Not a Competition (But I'm Winning)" begins on an acoustic note led solely by singer Ricky Wilson, though the rest of the band slowly joins in sonically and lyrically, rounding out the romance tipped tune with chilling cadence. "Learnt My Lesson Well" also kicks off somewhat slower with sparse piano chords and yearning vocals, though the tune dramatically shifts tempo and direction after a minute and a half, morphing into a plugged-in fist pounder. In that regard, along with the aforementioned air wave tailored tunes, Kaiser Chiefs prove to be more than a mere flash in the pan, while masterfully serving both its indie and more accessibly-minded audiences.

Watch the Kaiser Chiefs' - "Ruby" video

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