Buoyant British Everymen Get All Doom-and-Gloom


Anyone know why Kaiser Chiefs look so dour on the cover of their second album? These smart-assed U.K. guitar-pop guys broke through in a big way with their 2005 debut, which, thanks to the hooligan-friendly meta-anthem “I Predict a Riot,” made them stars in England and well reviewed buzz-bin babies here. Yet everything about Yours Truly, Angry Mob suggests that the Chiefs have taken a cue from Radiohead and proceeded directly to their Misunderstood Artists phase. “Due to lack of interest, tomorrow’s been canceled,” frontman Ricky Wilson pouts in “Ruby,” the album’s opener and lead single.

Um, what’s to misunderstand? Wilson and his bandmates write kicky, peppy tunes about pub life and urban shittiness and how awesome it would’ve been to’ve invented the wheel; they’re the English equivalent of Fountains of Wayne, who four albums in still seem pretty stoked on describing the wallpaper at the DMV. Actually, put on Angry Mob whilst sweeping and the Kaisers sound rather cheery—”Highroyds,” for instance, pulls off a killer Parklife impression. But give the music the attention Wilson’s wordplay deserves and the singer’s bummer bogs down what would otherwise be buoyant. If dude wants to go all doom-and-gloom, he might wanna hip his band to the idea.

Kaiser Chiefs play Roseland Ballroom April 12,