in Review

Heads Up

Off with Their Heads – Kaiser Chiefs

Well it sure was a gas pumping up the rock and roll rhythm of this Leeds quintet’s latest album. Though it’s physical release has been continually delayed here in the US, it’s now due out November 19th even though it came out in the UK on October 20th, I still managed to find the album online and I believe it’s already on the US iTunes store. So what does this energetic gang have to offer us this time around? Where their last album was mostly guitar driven hard rock, Off with Their Heads shares more similarities with K.C’s first album. Now it may not have as many catchy melodies as their debut but there’s definitely some instant Kaiser classics here and plenty of fist pumping arena rock to fill up an electrified 35 minutes.

“Never Miss a Beat” is the album’s leadoff single and is a perfect representation of what this band is all about. With a grooving rhythm, sharp guitar, poppy keyboards complete with a rowdy sing-along chorus it’s K.C. at their best. The string heavy “Like it Too Much” is also a highlight and probably my favorite track on the album. I have a slight fondness for some other tracks but frankly only a few really leave an impression on me, and though I like it I still prefer the first two albums.

Something that hit me on this album is the heavy emphasis on percussion. You got woodblocks, bongos, cowbells , basically the whole shebang. So if the songs don’t immediately grab ya they’re still good to groove to. Nick “Peanut” Baines the groups keyboardist also gets to fiddle with a lot of new synths and sounds on the album, where on the last album he mostly stuck to piano, he’s playing with all sorts of crunchy and bouncy textures here and it sounds pretty cool. I’d also say there is a stronger emphasis on Simon Rix’s bass while Andrew White’s guitar playing seems to be a little less prominent and Ricky Wilson along with drummer/backup vocalist/head songwriter Nick Hodgson are fine vocal leads to these energetic Pop/Rock rumbles.

It’s funny that this is probably their best reviewed album yet, though I’m not sure why. Where it lacks in songwriting I suppose it makes up for it in the overall polished sound perfected by producer Mark Ronson and Eliot James. Off With Their Heads is probably K.C’s most accessible album, so I guess it’s good to see the gang widening their audience and hopefully they can reach a higher popularity in the states someday.

Favorite Tracks: “Like it Too Much”, “Never Miss a Beat”, “You Want History”


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