When did Kaiser Chiefs become the band that everyone loves to hate? Was their debut album not an entertaining amalgamation of bluster, pomp and pop? Do they not have the skills to write hit after hit, whilst also appealing to the NME-buying indie crowd? Is their collective cheeky-chappy persona not completely endearing? If your answer to the above questions is 'no', congratulations. You're in possession of a healthy capacity of common sense. If, however, you're unsure about your feelings for Kaiser Chiefs - especially after they destroyed any sliver of credibility they may have had with the self-indulgent twaddle that masqueraded as their second album - this record will make up your mind either way.
The ubiquitous Mark Ronson produced Off with Their Heads - yet while the production arena is supposedly where Ronson's earned his reputation, he does nothing to make these songs sparkle, or even elevate them from the pit of banality they so hopelessly fester in. It's not that they're bad songs, per se - they're just terribly, criminally, unforgivably drab.
Kaiser Chiefs have made their name by writing songs with a meticulously-followed formula: they're either lite-rock, call-and-response numbers (like Never Miss A Beat) or chipper, repetitive pop (such as You Want History or Can't Say What I Mean) - but they're always, always lacking in variation of tempo, tone and general songwriting flair. Ricky Wilson's complete absence of a vocal range is the main culprit here - although his lyrics, which largely sound like they've been thought up on the toilet ("Sticks and stones and animal bones / Can't stop me from having a good day, or a bad day") don't help the cause much, either.
Argue all you want about the fact that they aren't supposed to be taken seriously (don't worry, they never will be), that they're unashamedly a novelty band (best they could hope for) and that they're quite happy to be seen as purveyors of stadium rock anthems (no snobbery on that count). Yet even without getting overtly philosophical about what purpose Kaiser Chiefs actually serve, this is still one of the most inane albums you could wish not to hear in 2008.