Release Date: May 5, 2017
Record label: Columbia
Over fifteen years and six albums, Leicester lads Kasabian have set about creating an empire (pun intended) of hedonism and a particular strain of exuberance - one where giddy kicks are the order of the day and the line between naff and cool is regularly crossed. They’ve swaggered down different avenues of their kingdom along the way - 2004’s self-titled debut is baggier and more Hacienda-indebted; 2014’s ‘eez-eh’-producing ‘48:13’ found songwriter Serge Pizzorno going full-on ludicrous Nutty Professor - but, all in all, Kasabian have always been about perfecting the art of the good time rather than smashing down the sonic walls around them. On ‘For Crying Out Loud’ they regularly hit their dizziest heights yet.
Guitarist and primary songwriter Serge Pizzorno has described Kasabian's album as more "simple" than their previous work. It's hard to imagine a pleasure more simple than 'Club Foot', a 2004 student union anthem that centred around the word "Ooosh!" being chanted over and over, or a set of songs less lyrically complex than 2014 single 'Eez-eh' ("Everyone's on bugle /Now we're being watched by Google"). Yet 'For Crying Out Loud' is chockablock with massive tunes that make an instant impact.
A string of cool tracks between standard arena crowd pleasers... I was ready to hate the new Kasabian album as soon as I saw the front cover. It's terrible and makes the one used on 48:13 look like a masterpiece. I get stripping layers is trendy, but not like this. Then, reading Sergio's facepalm inducing statement as "saving guitar music from the abyss" didn't help either, especially coming from a band who embraced electronics (they've never been rock gurus in the first place).
C learly confident that people were still into chugging indie with a side of glib mental-health references, Kasabian heralded their sixth album with You're in Love with a Psycho, a track whose dopey asylum-set video simply gurned in the face of progress. It's not the first time the indie survivors have prized silly blokeyness over appropriate content - in 2009 they released an album called West Ryder Pauper Lunatic Asylum - and to be fair it's clearly an effective formula: their combination of political incorrectness and easy traceability up the Beatles family tree is partly why their last four albums have all gone to No 1. As grating as their sub-Mighty Boosh wackiness always, always is (crimes against surrealism here include the lyric "sasquatch in a binbag"), their meat-and-two-veg indie is still enjoyable: managing to balance satisfying guitar distortion with all-together-now euphoria (Bless This Acid House), whilst nailing scraggy Sgt Pepper vibes (Put Your Life on It).
A fter headlining Glastonbury in 2014, you might expect Kasabian to be experiencing something of a hangover. But despite the title, their sixth studio album finds the dance rockers swapping their usual exploding Coke bottle dynamic for a more playful and melodic mood. Principal songwriter Serge Pizzorno turned out the material in six weeks, trying to channel the three-minute sparkle of classic Motown hits.
Kasabian talk a bloody brilliant game. In an era of softly-spoken, shy 'n' retiring sorts the band's swaggering, tell-it-like-it-is stance guarantees press inches, becoming one of the few polarising groups in an era defined by unanimity. Sadly, the band's words have increasingly become detached from their own output, to the extent where it can often seem as though they're discussing an entirely different album from the one they actually release.
Weird one, this. Kasabian haven't done anything groundbreaking in their career thus far, but they have operated as a pretty serviceable band with arena-sized tunes that can provide a gateway for better things. We know this album won't change that. Tracks like 'Shoot the Runner' and 'Vlad the Impaler' were great in my late teens.
Like it or not, Kasabian are 2017's biggest British rock band. Each of their last four albums to date has gone to number one, while only they, Arctic Monkeys, and the limper-than-ever Libertines are the only such artists to be part of that ever-slimming rotation of bands considered worthy of whipping crowds of a hundred thousand into appropriate shape as a festival headliner. And they talk a good game too.