MUSIC REVIEW: Kaiser Chiefs

Yours Truly, Angry Mob Universal Motown
Music •••• Sound ••••

The '60s had the Beatles. The '70s, the Kinks. The '80s, XTC. The '90s, Blur. And now, even though the '00s are two-thirds over and the band in question is just releasing its second album, we've got the Kaiser Chiefs. Don't get me wrong: This is not to say that these five guys from Leeds are "as good as" the Beatles. Of course not, silly you. But it is to say that, in the great lineage of smart, literate British pop, the Kaiser Chiefs have gone a long way to show they may well deserve a big portion of the inheritance.

The evidence was already clear on their 2005 debut, Employment, right from the opening 1-2-3-4 punch of "Everyday I Love You Less and Less," "I Predict a Riot," "Modern Way," and "Na Na Na Na Naa." Catchy to the max, that album was certainly a blast of fresh air after the messy demise of Blur. And half of Employment was produced by the architect of Blur's sonic effervescence, Stephen Street.

Now comes Yours Truly, Angry Mob - produced in its entirety by Street - and to rework its opening lines, "Let it never be said / That clever pop is dead." As before, the Chiefs are kings at not just coasting on one melody but packing each song aplenty. Street's focus, as always, is on the song, though here the template is fuller and more expansive. And the first thing you'll probably notice is that Andrew "Whitey" White's guitars are fatter now, which is fine - all the better to lock in the multiple, irresistible tunes of tracks like "The Angry Mob" and "My Kind of Guy."