Release Date: Jun 9, 2014
Record label: Columbia
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock
Given the wild speculation regarding Prince, Daft Punk and Fleetwood Mac, I think it’s not too unkind to say that Kasabian are the 2014 Glastonbury headliners that no-one was particularly asking for. Of course, if the band produced as many good songs as they do self-aggrandising quotes, they’d basically be The Beatles by now and there’d be no question of their worthiness (Worthy-ness?). In reality, their track record is somewhat more patchy, with the confident, electronic-tinged indie-rock of their self-titled debut and the gunning-for-stadiums bombast of Empire ultimately proving more fruitful than any attempts at experimentation on their subsequent two records.
While Kasabian kick against the pricks, their audience dances. The band raises a fist, the fans shake a tail feather, but even if they're a Happy Mondays without a current cultural need for a Happy Mondays, the grooving and groovy 48:13 is a great reason to pretend. Named after its total runtime, the album is a lean, mean machine of singalong revolution songs and baggy jeans dance music from folks old enough to be wearing fitted by now, but the hunger to survive and flourish is as palpable as it was on their debut.
Back in April, Serge Pizzorno and Tom Meighan were spotted in east London in decorators’ overalls, daubing the numbers ’48:13’ onto the wall of their designer’s studio. The men behind such intellectual manifestos as ‘Empire’, ‘Fire’ and all that stuff in ‘LSF’, were making their boldest statement yet. ‘We’ve made an album of slightly above-average length,’ they were saying, and the world sat up.
Review Summary: Gearing more for the huge summer festivals rather than assembling a proper record.Kasabian are living in a world of their own. Helmed by wacky mastermind Sergio Pizzorno, these guys have always stubbornly followed all their visions without taking any advice or constructive criticism. Not even the biggest failure could ever make them have second thoughts regarding the direction followed.
If they're never as good as they say they are, Kasabian are reliably better than their detractors insist. For all that they're the epitome of ladrock, they've also always been willing to hop between genres, even if the results can be a bit iffy (Doomsday's electro-ska is particularly awkward). The new sonic addition here appears to be the Game of Thrones theme, the dominant influence on Stevie's portentous string pattern.
Since word one – in the title of their debut single, Club Foot – Kasabian set out to be the British rock band you could move to. To their critics they were more like Oasis copyists with syncopation, and the moves they inspired were more lathered lurches rather than anything you'd see in a high-end Berlin warehouse. But Kasabian's propulsive way with a groove accounts for how, during the course of a decade, this foursome have progressed from being a neo-baggy anachronism to perhaps the nation's foremost party band.
At various points during the past five years, Kasabian have threatened to become the biggest band in the UK. They are proven bestsellers – you don’t get to headline Glastonbury, as they’ve just done, without accruing genuine status – but they have teetered on the precipice of being more than that, breaking out and going supernova. When they supported Oasis in 2009, they were seen as heirs apparent as the Gallaghers finally (finally) imploded (although we all know that the final chapter of that story still has to be enacted).
If Kasabian really is an elaborate, ten-year spanning inside joke, this could be the pinnacle. Their past two albums have been named respectively after a mental institution and an extinct dinosaur - now attention’s turned to ‘48:13’, which neatly sums up a record in one precise figure, like James Murphy without the indie cred. As Tom Meighan and and Serge Pizzorno continue to bounce off the walls, declaring each of their works a moment of inspired genius, in actual fact it doesn’t matter if they’re poking fun at themselves.
Ah, Kasabian. Standard-bearers of modern guitar music or the swaggering embodiment of beer-chucking, lowest common denominator lad-rock? Ever since they first appeared 10 years ago, the Leicestershire quartet have sharply split opinion. Ever since the demise of Oasis, they’ve been the band for whom the phrase ‘great lads, proper music’ has been used to both decry and defend.