Sunday, November 2nd, 2008...4:03 pm

Anglo-Audiophile: The Reviews » A Review (Because I Couldn’t Come Up With a Clever Title That Included Both Album Titles

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As promised, my review of Off With Their Heads and Perfect Symmetry. Not as much bashing as I thought there would be, but still rather good if you ask me.

Originally Off With Their Heads and Perfect Symmetry were suppose to be released on the same day. It was going to be an absolute bonanza for me: Two of my favourite bands releasing their third albums on the same day. Sadly, though I guess ultimately for the best, Off With Their Heads was delayed three weeks here in the States and so I got to hear Perfect Symmetry before I heard Off With Their Heads. If you had asked me at the beginning of October whose album I was more excited about I would have automatically answered the Kaiser Chiefs. But now, after listening to both albums I must, sadly, admit Keane has the better third album. And what it comes down to is passion.
My main complaint with the Kaiser Chiefs’ lead single, “Never Miss a Beat” (beside the idiotic nature of the lyrics), was the lack of passion contained in the song. This apathy pervades the band’s new album Off With Their Heads leading the listener to think that band doesn’t care about what they’re singing or playing, that they are merely putting out and album to put out an album (and ultimately, why should we care about an album that the band doesn’t care about). Although Mark Ronson and Eliot James do a very good job of producing Off With Their Heads, the band’s lack of enthusiasm and the poor quality of the lyrics makes listening to this album a very trying experience. The few saving graces on the albums, particularly “Like It Too Much” and “Always Happens Like That”, are the songs that seems to have even iota of passion in them. Unfortunately those songs are too infrequent to make up for the rest of the passionless tracks that dominate Off With Their Heads.
Recommended Tracks: Like It Too Much, You Want History, Always Happens Like That, Remember You’re a Girl
On the flip side, you could never accuse Keane of not being passionate about their music. While not every song on Perfect Symmetry is absolutely brilliant, the band never wanes in its enthusiasm for the music they’re producing. As often happens in the mixing of an album, Perfect Symmetry is front loaded with the best songs recorded by Keane, but there are a few gems on the second half of the album particularly “Pretend That You’re Alone” and album closer “Love is the End” that save the album from being too dull at the end. While some of the messages on the album can come across as heavy-handed the musical experientialism paired with Tom Chaplin’s complete and utter belief in what he is singing more than makes up for calling mankind weeds. The best songs on the album are those that break ground both musically and lyrically for the band, those few times when they step out of their comfort zone and create something unexpected.
Recommended Tracks: The Lovers Are Losing, Better Than This, Perfect Symmetry, Pretend That Your Alone, Love Is The End
A good album shows growth musically and lyrically and conveys the passion a band has for creating music. Good songs step ever so slightly outside a band’s comfort zone, showing a certain amount of experimentation without alienating their fans or casual listeners. Those elements and the lack of those elements are what make Off With Their Heads a disappointing album and Perfect Symmetry a good one. Ultimately, it all comes down to passion.

Perfect Symmetry: B+ Off With Their Heads: C-

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