Kaiser Chiefs
B-UNIQUE 26.2.07

So then, the “difficult second album…” Which way are they going to turn? Keep on going with the pop/rock/indie, slide into balladry or take up jazz? Well, the decision seem to have been to keep on going with what they were doing, but whether or not “Yours Truly” meets the expectation following “Employment” remains to be seen.

I found “Ruby” an odd choice for the Kaisers’ comeback single. To me, it was a grower and took a good 10 listens before I was comfortable with it. Now it’s unmistakably their own, it fits nicely as their album opener, but from hereon in, it’s new material all the way…

Second track “The Angry Mob” comes in two parts: the suggestive and enjoyable fluffy bit, then the chant-along denouement: the explanation of the weird album title. The band are confused by fame. A typical choice for a band who became so big so fast, but tackled with a clever slant. The track, and we presume the album, is written for, and about, those members of British society who only judge people (by which we are unmistakably talking about the band) by their latest actions. Fair play, we can listen to this album with an open ear, enjoy the new material and see where the momentum is taking them.

So why then begin track three, “Heat Dies Down”, with a riff not dissimilar to “Everyday I Love You Less And Less”? Then have “Thank You Very Much” blatantly steal nine tenths of its opening riff from “I Predict A Riot” and “Everything Is Average Nowadays” borrow some more of the same tune? (Bizarrely, “I Can Do It Without You” sounds a lot like Foo Fighters’ “Learn To Fly”, but I put this down to a bit more of a fluke.)

Now, to be fair, these similarities don’t make the tracks bad, “Heat Dies Down” is a clear single choice with some witty phrasing and catchy chorus, while “Everything Is Average Nowadays” is being touted as the next student anthem. It’s with “Highroyds” that the band are strongest though – telling a story of nostalgia and growing too old for your hometown. It feels like they are trying to play the ‘keeping in touch with our roots’ card, but I don’t mind. With lines like “Got keys to a car / picked up a girl from Boston Spa”, how can anyone dislike it?

Where this album is frail is in its Coldplay-leaning balladry. Ricky’s got the perfect voice for shouting, chanting and bouncing at the same time, but it’s a bit too weak to carry a melody. And it’s this that lets down otherwise enjoyable tracks like “Love’s Not A Competition (But I’m Winning)” and “Boxing Champ”.

Overall, it’s more of the same from Leeds’ finest, as it feels like they’re continuing down the same path as they were when they first wrote “Employment” all those years ago. What concerns me is exactly this fact, as a third album of the same again would become a bit too much. So yes, go and buy this album, enjoy the bounciness and ignore any similarities you may hear. But keep your fingers crossed that the band dare to go outside their comfort zone for number three.

Simon Middleyard