Kaiser Chiefs neither scale heights nor widen their reach on their third (and weakest) LP, Off With Their Heads. While the Leeds-born band’s 2005 breakthrough, Employment, went big with such singles as “Oh My God” and “I Predict a Riot”, last year’s follow-up, Yours Truly, Angry Mob (QRO review), saw the band deliver a more even record. Yet, on Off With Their Heads, Kaiser Chiefs deliver neither stand out singles nor a wholly balanced album.
The diminishing returns can be heard right from the get-go with the metal start to opener “Spanish Metal”. This grinding refrain is a pale shadow to the similar-style beginning to “I Predict a Riot”, and the rest of the track plays the same way. Single “Never Miss a Beat” is some catchy rock, but still not at the level of other Kaiser Chiefs singles, even Yours Truly’s.
And from there, the Off gets even more mediocre in its middle. “Like It Too Much” at least has some grand Kaiser pub-rock and pian-y keys, but is still too thumping. Meanwhile, “You Want History” is a grand & forgettable one, notable only for introducing the Casio keys that show up often on the record, like with somewhat decent single “Good Days Bad Days”. On either side of “Days” are the peppy press of “Can’t Say What I Mean” and the slow swing of “Tomato in the Rain”; both are nice, but hardly amazing.
Thankfully, things pick up near the end. “Half the Truth” is at least more politically minded, from a band that claims to be so. Yet it is the relaxed, even sunny nature of the final three numbers where Off actually stands out. “Always Happens Like That” has a higher swing, almost eighties-like, making it enjoyable. That decade’s pipe-drumming makes an interesting appearance on “Addicted To Drugs” (and yes, that’s another bright one, despite the title). Meanwhile, finisher “Remember You’re a Girl” is a cute little sunshine-after-the-rain ditty.
Kaiser Chiefs cancelled much of their last U.S. tour to get back to writing (or at least that’s what they claimed; they also weren’t selling out dates, and left openers – and friends-of-the-Q – White Rabbits in a lurch – QRO interview). Unfortunately, all that seems to have come from it is a middling record from an increasingly middling band. Alt-British bands that make a big splash there and across the pond have an unfortunate tendency to end up delivering less and less (see: Oasis), and Kaiser Chiefs seem to be fitting that mold.