Spotlight \

Kaiser Chiefs

With their third album, the Mark Ronson-produced Off With Their Heads, the Leeds lads fall victim to conformity. And that's not good.

What? Specializing in chant-alongs that question the social mentality of chant-alongs, the Kaiser Chiefs have made a name for themselves peddling Britpop 2.0 to fans on both sides of the pond. On new album Off With Their Heads, the Chiefs call upon old chums (guest vocalist Lily Allen, whose Mark Ronson-produced cover of their tune “Oh My God” reinvigorated interest in the band’s early hit), friends of friends (Ronson on co-production duties), and new pals, too: Rapper Sway adds guest vocals on “Half the Truth,” and Andy Wallace (Nirvana, Sonic Youth) takes on mixing engineer duties. The results fail to chart new territory, however. At best, the album recycles the outfit’s smart-aleck hooks, as on “Never Miss a Beat.” At worst, it finds the lads musically guilty of their own favorite critique — conformity.

Who? Formed in 2003 in Leeds, England, the Kaiser Chiefs are vocalist Ricky Wilson, guitarist Andrew White, bassist Simon Rix, keyboardist Nick Baines, and drummer Nick Hodgson. The quintet’s hit single “I Predict a Riot” was released in 2004, arriving just in time to ride the (new) new wave craze alongside bands such as Franz Ferdinand. The band conquered U.K. and U.S. radio before their debut album, Employment, was released in spring 2005. The SPIN-approved follow-up, Yours Truly, Angry Mob, arrived in spring 2007.

Fun Fact: Frontman Wilson has an obsession with U.K. television detective drama Midsomer Murders — so much that he’s done a series of oil paintings of lead actor John Nettles that he hopes to exhibit one day.

Now Watch This:“Never Miss a Beat”