Off With Their Heads review by Kaiser Chiefs

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  • Released: Oct 28, 2008
  • Sound: 8
  • Lyrics: 7
  • Overall Impression: 7
  • Reviewer's score: 7.3 Good
  • Users' score: 6.6 (26 votes)
Kaiser Chiefs: Off With Their Heads
1

Sound — 8
The sound on this album is fairly different from their early outings on Employment (their debut album). The focus still seems to be around the indie/punk scene, which is obvious in most tracks, but some points in the album show the band experimenting with various techniques that could have been plucked straight out of the 60's (the keyboards in 'Half the Truth' and 'Tomato in the Rain') and the 80's (just listening to the keyboards on half of the tracks would show what I meant). The keyboards, as I'm sure you'd find out, play the most up-front role on the album. This is most apparent on 'Good Days, Bad Days' and 'You Want History', I think. On the other hand, away from the styles, the guitar and bass lines are pretty similar to everything else they've released. Simple, catchy riffs are littered all over the place, and not just on the guitar. The two seem to be balanced when it comes to taking the musical front, with the bass having riffs that hook you easily on songs like 'Never Miss a Beat'. The guitar then takes control on others - 'Spanish Metal' and 'Always Happens Like That' (with the piano in tow), for example. The only real criticism about the guitar is the solo in 'Always Happens Like That', which is a little hard on the ears (maybe it's meant to sound that way, I don't know). Since I've covered the rest, the percussion/drums are pretty well played too. The drumming plays a very prominent role in almost all of the songs, particularly on 'Addicted to Drugs' etc. One of the best tracks for the sound is the final track 'Remember You're a Girl', which sounds heavily John Lennon/The Beatles influenced, as I'm sure many will agree. It's a little uncertain as to whether some fans will be overjoyed about the sound of some of the tracks on here, but on the whole, it's a nice listen.

Lyrics — 7
As with a lot of 'Chief's songs, the lyrics aren't entirely inspiring or hard-hitting ('What did you learn today? I learnt nothing. What did you do today? I did nothing.' - you get the picture), though they do fit the requirements of the music given. The high points of the vocals come mainly in the melodies, harmonies and backing vocals. A lot of the melodies show signs of influences from the new-romantics era, where other tracks also show 70's punk methods. The backing vocals and harmonies, mainly by drummer Nick Hodgson, are cleverly harmonised. Even when not harmonising, they fit the songs very appropriately - the backing vocals in 'You Want History' fit very well, though he doesn't sing any legible words for the most of it. Guest vocalists on the album add a nice edge to it too, with Lily Allen (Always Happens Like That) and Sway (Half the Truth) making appearances.

Overall Impression — 7
This album won't live up to the success of the previous outings 'Employment' and 'Yours Truly, Angry Mob', that's a given. Some of the songs don't sound as full as their previous work. The playing and singing etc. is pretty good, and the production (by now-legendary Amy Winehouse producer, Mark Ronson) is pretty flawless. Overall, it's worth a listen if you're into the band, but it might not interest some listeners as much.

15 comments sorted by best / new / date

    hugh20
    i saw them live in Southampton and they were amazing! I think this album isn't as good as the others but still pretty good.
    GoldSoundzUKNZ
    i couldn't stand it. there was simply no real energy, a couple of ok songs (half the truth, never miss a beat), and some really bad ones (good days bad days...it sounds like a childrens' nursery rhyme), but i know the chiefs can do better.
    YourVillain
    This was laughable. You can quite easily listen to four or five songs in a row and not realise they've changed. The lyrics are utterly abysmal, even worse for the fact that they try to give some kind of social commentary. It's time the Kaiser Chiefs owned up to the fact that they're a past-it mainstream pop band who can only ever be remembered with the same fondness as Simply Red.
    LegsOnEarth
    Well, you know what they said YourVillain.. Everything is average nowadays. Worst band to ever come out of Britain.
    fishfingaz
    To the poster above me: If a band is successful the way they are then why change anything? saw them live at the eden project and i am not a huge fan but they were brilliant
    Greendaypunkit
    i saw them live in Southampton and they were amazing! I think this album isn't as good as the others but still pretty good.
    yeah i was at that one 2 they were AMAZING! they played some of their songsoff thenew album (which was unreleased at the time) and it all sounded good
    Serjem
    i sure will check it out.... i love kaiser chiefs... ooh when the heat dies down we're back in town.. 0, yeah
    FiveStarMotel
    God I ****ing love this band but man what a bummer album. Totally disappointing. "Good days, bad days" is almost unlistenable. "Like it too much" and "addicted to drugs" and "never miss abeat" are all great but overall this is nowhere near as good as their last one, which i loved personally.
    SOADriff
    i heard the single "never miss a beat" and absolutely hated it. seems like the rest of the album is similar.
    RainyMonday
    I haven't gotten it yet but I'm excited about lily allen singing on a track. Her voice is amazing!
    Bozjoarmstrong
    This is by no means a bad album. And would everyone stop slagging off 'Good Days, Bad Days' I reckon it's one of the best on there. But it has to be said, this is easily the...well, worst sounds too harsh...least good album they have done. It's too Beatles-esque in places, and not Kaisery enough. If you want an excellent Kaiser Chiefs album, buy Employment, if you want a good one, Yours Truly Angry Mob, and If you want one that just beats average, get this.