“Yours Truly, Angry Mob”
4 out of 5 stars
Friends of mine will tell you that I wasn’t exactly the biggest Kaiser Chiefs fan when the band’s debut album came out back in the spring of 2005.
As a matter of fact, I absolutely hated them. I didn’t like their songwriting, I didn’t like their song structures and every time I listened to that album it gave me a headache. For the life of me I couldn’t understand what everybody else I knew saw in them.
Needless to say when “Yours Truly, Angry Mob,” the band’s sophomore album, landed on my desk, I approached it with both reluctance and apprehension.
But the truth of the matter is that sometime in the last two years the Kaiser Chiefs went and got it right.
The songs are infinitely better this time around, and the arty mod-rock song structures are also much improved. There are some absolutely massive hooks on this album.
This record sustains its momentum well from top to bottom, making it truly enjoyable as a traditional Long Play. I went back and listened to their first album and I still hate it and probably always will.
In my eyes though, “Yours Truly, Angry Mob” is 163 percent better and well worth the listen.
Key Tracks: “Heat Dies Down,” “Love’s Not a Competition (But I’m Winning),” “Ruby”
3.5 out of 5 stars
Grant-Lee Phillips has had a long and fruitful career in music, even if commercial success has been hard to come by.
Besides releasing four albums with his band Grant Lee Buffalo in the ’90s, Phillips was named the best male vocalist of 1995 by Rolling Stone magazine.
He’s also been on television as a minor recurring character in “Gilmore Girls” as the town troubadour.
This album is his fifth as a solo artist and his first collection of new songs since 2004 (he had an ’80s cover album out last summer). While Phillips continues to craft wonderfully lush and thoughtful songs on this record, the real beauty is in his vocals.
There is just something comfortable about the warm, smoky essence in his voice that helps add to the replay-ability of his records.
It also helps that his voice seems to fit perfectly into the meticulously luxuriant, mostly down-tempo acoustic guitar song structures that make up this collection of tracks.
Key Tracks: “Soft Asylum,” “Fountain of Youth,” “Raise the Spirit”