Drowned in Sound: Kaiser Chiefs: Yours Truly, Angry Mob

Drowned in Sound
Kaiser Chiefs: Yours Truly, Angry Mob
by Kodi McKinney, DJ at U92

Is it wrong to listen to music that makes you feel empty?
I would say so, but it might feel worse to have created such music. Kaiser Chiefs are a British rock band that have seen considerable success as of late despite having perpetrated such a crime. Their new album Yours Truly, Angry Mob topped the charts in their homeland with the help of an anthemic, New Wave-inspired sound that does its best to convey some kind of emotion. Unfortunately, that effort is much too forced and winds up soulless at the end.
Almost every song on Yours Truly is superficially catchy at first and seemingly good. The first single, "Ruby," works well enough thanks to decent guitar playing and solid hooks, making it easier to overlook the vapid vocals that hang in dark clouds over the album. Singer Ricky Wilson has flexible range but minimal urgency; his bandmates' backing vocals are even more bland. There's zero identity. Hopefully this is the mark of overproduction, but it's doubtful.
To venture an understatement, the lyrics probably contribute to this problem. The handful of clever lines the band offers up are totally spoiled by the subpar, witless lines around them. Such a glaring weakness is only really noticeable when Kaiser Chiefs aren't running their choruses into the ground, as they do with a strange glee on "Ruby" and "I Can Do It Without You." To make matters worse, titles also get hammered into the brain as if the band is painfully scared their songs will be forgotten. If "Love's Not A Competition (But I'm Winning)" sounds like an interesting song, be prepared for the change of heart brought on by hearing the title repeated ad nauseam.
This highlights the biggest problem of all: Yours Truly is almost entirely forgettable. "Heat Dies Down" is the best song on the album by far, yet it doesn't stick even after repeated listening. The weaker tracks might as well not exist, leaving no real imprint on the mind. Most tellingly, the most memorable moment of all is the outro of "The Angry Mob," mainly because it's weirdly close to "The Safety Dance" by Men Without Hats. These songs are not always bad, but they pull you into an aural black hole where it's easy to forget they exist.
One not-so-witty song title, "Everything Is Average Nowadays," is particularly ironic. To call Kaiser Chiefs' latest "average" is disrespectful to average music. The catchy moments don't last, the lyrics are pitiful, and most importantly, there is no emotion to be felt here. At a time when bands like Bloc Party and the Arctic Monkeys are paving the way for exciting rock from across the pond, Yours Truly makes it all look like a mirage. Music and feeling should never be apart from each other. Without feeling, why make music?
Rating: 1 out of 5