Still causing a riot!!!
Nse Ette | Lagos, Nigeria | 10/28/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
""Off with their heads" is the third CD from UK rabble rousers Kaiser Chiefs. Produced by wunderkind Mark Ronson (Ronson covered their "Oh my God" with Lily Allen on his "Version" CD) it isn't the retro horn-filled affair one would expect. In fact, it is rather Blur-influenced, to my ears at least.
Clocking in at just over 35 minutes, the songs cut right to the chase, opening with the Blur-sounding "Spanish metal" followed by the just-as-rocky "Never miss a beat" and the (again) Blur-sounding "Can't say what I mean". The plodding "Like it too much" has a jagged feel, while "You want history" has a light Ska feel.
Other standouts include the bouncy "Half the truth" (with UK rapper Sway and it surprisingly works), the closing psychedelic sixties-sounding ballad "remember you're a girl" (with faint Beach Boys influences), the bobbing "Always happens like that" (with sunny harmonies, nice jangly guitars and Lily Allen in tow), "Addicted to drugs" (buzzing guitars and thumping beats) and the lovely psychedelic "Tomato in the rain".
This is an album that grows and grows on you. Ok her Royal Majesty, not off with their heads just yet..."
Kaiser Chiefs - Off with Their Heads 8/10
Rudolph Klapper | Los Angeles / Orlando | 10/28/2008
(4 out of 5 stars)
"The Kaiser Chiefs have always been one of the most likable bands to emerge from the Brit-rock scene that came about with the rise of bands like Franz Ferdinand and the Libertines. The Leeds quintet's potent blend of `60s Kinks guitar-pop and Britpop worship combined with frontman Ricky Wilson's irreverently clever lyrics and distinctive delivery made their debut Employment and, to a lesser extent, their sophomore record Yours Truly, Angry Mob two of the more exciting records to come out of England post-Ferdinand. Off With Their Heads continues this streak without remaining too similar to what came before, as the Chiefs enlist all-star Brit producer Mark Ronson and turn their always-sharp witticisms toward more worldly topics than before.
There's nothing here as immediately catchy as Mob's ridiculously successful single "Ruby," but the band's sense of growth is palpable from the opening "Spanish Metal," a song that announces itself loud and clear with a threatening guitar line and a cascade of toms and crashes and is certainly one of the most "rockin'" songs the band has ever put down. Single "Never Miss A Beat" is vintage Kaiser Chiefs, a buzzing bass and twirling guitar line framing some of Wilson's most political lyrics yet. "It's cool to know nothing," he sings as the song's excellent guitar work takes off.
Ronson's fingerprints are all over this record, and for the better. The funky stomp and soaring strings of "Like It Too Much," the synth-heavy, pulsating beat of "You Want History," the syncopated tribal drums and slashing guitar on "Good Days Bad Days," Ronson helps the Chiefs produce an album that is more musically diverse than any of their previous offerings. And even when they're still perfecting the art of XTC-inspired Britpop, Ronson still gives them the extra edge, as on the bouncy, bell-laden, quite ironic "Addicted to Drugs." But don't forget Wilson's contributions; his lyrics remain some of the most entertaining on that side of the Atlantic, and his voice is endlessly melodic and in-tune.
There are a few missteps where the band takes one step too far, such as the out-of-place guest rap by Sway on "Half the Truth," or meander into formulaic rock like on "Can't Say What I Mean," but for the most part the Chiefs have succeeded in creating another gem of British rock `n roll. Here's to a new British invasion."
Kaiser Chiefs continue their run of excellent albums
Paul Allaer | Cincinnati | 11/01/2008
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Kaiser Chiefs stormed onto the UK music scene with their irresistible "I Predict A Riot" single from the excellent 2005 "Employment" album, and things grew from there. Last year's album "Yours Truly, Angry Mob" was perhaps not as great as "Employment" but with the "Ruby" single, which became a worldwide sing-along success, they continued their winning ways. Now already comes the band's third album.
"Off With Their Heads" (11 tracks, plus 2 bonus tracks; 45 min.) is interestingly co-produced by now omni-present and uber-producer Mark Ronson (this guy seems to be everywhere these days), who covered Kaiser Chiefs' "Oh My God" on his own album ("Version") last year. After a tentative opener "Spanish Metal", the album really crashes in with "Never Miss a Beat" (1st UK single), as good as the band has been. The energy of the album then doesn't let up, with great song after song. Other stand-outs include " Good Days and Days", "Tomato in the Rain", and the sing-along tongue-in-cheek "Addicted to Drugs" (which sounds to me like another single in the waiting. The album I bought came with 2 bonus tracks: "Sooner or Later", a nice B-side sounding track, and an unnecessary remix of "Never Miss a Beat", which sounds nothing like the original song. Lily Allen is credited with backing vocals on 2 tracks ("Never Miss a Beat" and "Always Happens Like That"), but truth be told, I relistened to these tracks, and could never hear it.
In all, "Off With Their Heads" continues the winning streak of Kaiser Chiefs. If you liked the first 2 albums, you will like this one as well. Nothing groundbreaking, just great songs. I saw Kaiser Chiefs in concert earlier this year at Coachella, and they put on a tremendous energy-filled set, just like would have expected them. While Kaiser Chiefs remain under the radar screen here in the US, these guys are now HUGE in their native UK."