Seriously, this '80s thing is getting out of control. The music sucked the first time around. Most (not all, but most) of the pop music that brings back all those warm fuzzy feelings of happier days is poorly produced, trite, nihilistic crap. But I guess since our current culture isn't quite vapid enough, we need to revisit the coked-up, Cold War love of Reagan-era new wave.
This album really isn't bad. It's got energy, it's got hooks, it's easy and fun to listen to... it's got all the things that make a decent rock album. But the thing is, so what? It's similar to Hot Fuss, but The Killers beat these guys to the punch. Sure, Kaiser Chiefs try to stretch out a bit, especially on the second half. "Time Honoured Tradition" and "What Did I Ever Give You" make me want to listen to Oingo Boingo and Pulp, respectively. In other words, listening to Kaiser Chiefs at their best makes me want to listen to something else.
And a little, nit-picky point: In a few places, vocalist Ricky Wilson rips off Robert Smith's little vocal squeal. C'mon guys, don't rip off someone's signature move. It just emphasizes how little you matter.
All in all, there's nothing extremely wrong with this album. The problem is, there's nothing right with it, either. Unless you really love this whole retro '80s thing, don't waste your time with third-rate knock-offs like Kaiser Chiefs.
No single instrumentalist stands out as anything more than average, but as a whole they've got a decent amount of energy. What they lack is originality. These are retro '80s pop songs that are fun and catchy. You know what else is fun and catchy? Contracting STDs.
It's a good cover that gets even better once you spend some time looking inside the CD jacket. The art director, Cally, ran with a neat idea and delivered upon its potential. Unfortunately, the Thank You's are so poorly presented that it makes me wonder whether some junior artist at Universal Republic slapped them together at the last minute.
Listen if you like: The Killers, Cheap Trick, Franz Ferdinand, third-rate '80s bands like Human League or A Flock of Seagulls.
If it were food, it'd be: French Fries. A tasty indulgence every once in a while, but if they become a mainstay of your diet, you'll become fat and stupid and dead.