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Kaiser Chiefs:: Off With Their Heads (Album Review)

If you were hoping that Kaiser Chiefs’ hiring Mark Ronson to produce their third studio disc would result in a vintage-soul overhaul of their jittery new-wave sound — hey, what can’t the Dap-Kings’ horns improve? — prepare to be let down.

Beyond a couple of guest-vocal spots from fellow Ronson client Lily Allen and an out-of-place rap from English MC Sway, Off with Their Heads covers pretty much the same territory as the Chiefs’ first two discs. (Add another “post-” to XTC’s supermelodic post-punk attack and you’re there.)

Yet if Heads reveals little creative growth, it at least finds singer Ricky Wilson in a better mood than he was on last year’s Yours Truly, Angry Mob, where his peeved pouting threatened to sink his bandmates’ bubbly tunes. “Sticks and stones and animal bones can’t stop me from having a good day on a bad day,” he crows over jangly dance-rock guitars in “Good Days Bad Days.” Is he being sarcastic? Perhaps. But I’m willing to be fooled.