The Kaiser Chiefs’ quick rise to fame in the UK (and, to a much lesser extent, the US) can be attributed to their natural embrace of pop music as it relates to the current indie scene. Few bands of this era have been able to plug so much giddiness into their rock’n’roll and sound so convincing doing it. So, it’s no surprise that the band’s follow-up offers primarily the same kinds of sounds.
There is nothing as inescapable as past hits “I Predict a Riot” or “Oh My God” on Yours Truly, Angry Mob. Nor does the band play around with genre as much as they did before. Instead, they’ve clearly spent time building upon their craft, and the effort shows on ambitious cuts like singalong “The Angry Mob” and wannabe-epic “My Kind Of Guy,” which falls just short of ultimate success. The band has definitely matured a bit, which presents possibilities as well as problems. Angry Mob is far less interesting and instant than the band’s debut. There are amazing set pieces like the piano pounding “Highroyds” and the insanely catchy “Heat Dies Down,” both surely destined for single release. But the last third of the record muddles things up a bit. Apart from the unexpected, sparse ballad “Boxing Champ” and the punchy “Learnt My Lesson Well,” many of the tracks towards the end of the album end up sounding too much the same.
However, even if Angry Mob doesn’t wow you out of your seat, it is insistently upbeat and intermittently clever, which should be enough to satisfy most Kaiser Chiefs fans and see the band easily navigate its way through the legendary “sophomore slump.” And, most promisingly, the catchy lead single “Ruby” is far from the best material to be found here, hinting at the sustainability of the record. In the future, though, the band could do with a bit more variation and some of the savvy genre-hopping they displayed on their debut.