Kaiser Chiefs - Off With Their Heads
As soon as the jangly guitars of “Spanish Metal” begins, you realise that “Off With Their Heads” is perhaps a departure from the last two records, but that's not necessarily a bad thing. “Spanish Metal“ is a good opening with a catchy melody and interesting use of texture. However, the melody in the chorus isn’t particularly memorable. Sometimes Ricky Wilson’s vocals seem to be swamped in loud guitars, and this is a shame. The single “Never Miss A Beat” hits out at the youth culture of today. The verses contain catchy call and response style vocals which instantly catch your attention. The lyrics relate to society today: “What do you want for tea? I want crisps". However relevant these lyrics appear to be, they can't avoid being slightly embarrassing and the one line nearly derails the whole song. The chorus is instantly memorable, if perhaps slightly repetitive.
The previous Kaiser Chiefs albums seemed to have a raw energy about them, however, “Off With Their Heads” has a polished quality, presumably from Mark Ronson's input, which isn't always a bad thing, but in this case it could well be. Kaiser Chiefs stick to the tried and tested formula of catchy, lively songs and this works for the first few tracks before it starts getting slightly tedious. “Like It Too Much” is slightly bland with nothing particularly memorable about it. However, it's a good album track and fits in nicely. The orchestration is different and adds something to the song. The foot tapping “You Want History” is catchy, danceable and works well, it’s a definite strong point of the album. “Can’t Say What I Mean” is upbeat like the other tracks, and taken out of the context of the album, is a good song. Unfortunately it blends in too well with the other tracks, meaning there's nothing really unique about it. The drums sound particularly polished here and it’s a shame that Kaiser Chiefs have lost their raw quality that made them so different in the first place. “Off With Their Heads” is quite predictable in places and I expected a lot more from Kaiser Chiefs after their previous efforts. Even Lily Allen’s vocals in “Always Happens Like That” are surprisingly bland.
“Good Days Bad Days" is different to the other songs, however, it's not a particularly strong song and is comparable to that of a nursery rhyme; but picks up at the end. Sadly it's too late by this point to salvage the song. Unfortunately, in places, the album is slightly ordinary with only a couple of tracks saving it from sinking completely. After the disappointment of the first half of the album, “Half The Truth” sees Kaiser Chiefs rediscover their talent for creating catchy, likeable songs with bite. Sway adds his rapping talents, creating a different feel. The chorus is catchy and a high point of the album. The standard of the tracks picks up towards the end of the album, and this is when Kaiser Chiefs seem to rediscover their likeable quality. These songs seem to have the potential to work better in a live environment than on record.
“Remember You’re A Girl” is instantly reminiscent of John Lennon and has potential, but unfortunately comes off as slightly dreary, is instantly forgettable and doesn‘t really go anywhere. “Off With Their Heads” isn't a complete disaster, on the occasion where it pulls together it really works; when it doesn't it's not awful, but just slightly bland.
Nothing about the album really draws you in, and not being as radio friendly as the previous albums, it just means it takes repeated listens to find the well hidden gems. Kaiser Chiefs haven't shown any real desire to up their game, this album gives the impression they're happy staying at the same level. Not terrible, but not great.