Boringly titled after its rather conservation play length, this eye-achingly pink album is Leicester rock band Kasabian’s fifth album. Described by the band as ‘stripped back’ and ‘bare’ this is really only in comparison to their previous albums – this is not an acoustic album without the usual layers of sound and is far less of a departure than you may have been led to believe.
I kind of knew it would be a grower after my first listen through where, I have to be honest, I was a little disappointed after having recently listening to all the other albums as part of my ‘K’ leg of the A to Z CD marathon. I stuck it in the car and have been listening to it on my journeys to and from work and sure enough I now think it is a good ‘un and feel settled enough in my opinion of it to write this post in a gap between World Cup games.
Opening track “(shiva)” may as well not exist and just lures you into turning up the volume before the first proper track.
Strangely misspelt track “Bumblebeee” is a bombastic hedonistic mosh pit anthem which reminds this old buzzard a little of PWEI more rock orientated numbers.
“Stevie” is a standard chorus-driven singalong Kasabian track with a insy winsy little bit of Elastica thrown in and reliant on Tom Meighan’s exaggerated vocals to carry it through to its rolling crescendo of an ending with opening cello sounding string sounds used at the opening fading in to bookend the song.
“Doomsday” is very up-tempo and poppy, again reliant on a catchy chorus and the most similar to older tracks. I wouldn’t be surprised if this was released as a single in the future and with a great rhythm guitar part would do well at an indie orientated dance venue – if such a thing still exists in this day and age outside the confines of my bedroom. If I was pushing the ‘sounds like’ envelope to the limit I guess it sounds a bit like the track that Cast might make if they dropped acid, took some speed and travelled to the future on the Venga Bus after recording ‘Sandstorm’.
“Treat” has got a good thumping crunchy bassline and again reminds me of PWEI or Primal Scream, and while being predominantly a rock track sounds like Eurythmics, Ultravox or Snap (of ‘The Power’ fame) in latter stages. That’s one of the things I like the most about Kasabian is the fusion of musical styles to form a greater whole.
“Glass” is a little disappointing – I don’t like the lyrics all that much and although I liked the spoken section the first couple of times I now find I am pressing the track advance button to move onto track 8. Instrumentally it sounds a little like William Orbit in places or Orbital which is not a bad thing, but I’m not that struck on the vocals either. I’d like to hear an isolated version of the track with no voices on it at all as I think it’s a good composition.
The sequencer sound on “Explodes” starts like a BBC Micro loop and Eighties sounding synth noises abound, including a little Art of Noise low note voice synthesis. The track is rather plodding until the bass guitar riff kicks in after the vocals have finished with about a minute to go and then the track actually builds nicely to an oddly muted ending given the name and theme of the track.
“(levitation)” is a short throw-away ditty with Lennon-esque vocals and has little else going for it. It wins the award for the second most pointless track on the album after “(shiva)”.
“Clouds” is a happy sounding tune with a retro guitar riff that hooks into your brain like a parasite and I’m sure is buried somewhere in my music collection. Again sorry to keep banging on about it but there’s some PWEI and Primal Scream in here again and even a little Kula Shaker and Oasis. Clouds gets the album back on track ready for the big lead single Eez-eh.
The bizarre no-excuses dive straight into much higher 120BPM track “Eez-eh” is a signal to wind the car window down, turn it up and drive it like you stole it. Based on Daft Punk darling Georgio Moroder’s ‘magic tempo’ it reminds me of Black Grape at their best and makes me want to swap my car for an Astra with black alloys, tinted windows, fluffy dice, blue under-light and a body kit, and drive around punching one hand in the air. Their performance of this track on ‘Later with Jools…’ was brilliant and summed up their approach to most of their big tunes – I think they know they’re not the world’s best musicians but they want to entertain and have a laugh doing it. So let them.
“Bow” is another in a long line of ‘take a bow’ orientated tunes – I can think of at least two others by Rihanna and Leona Lewis with similar sentiment. I can imagine this was written as a closing track for their live performances. It’s a strange concoction – there’s some ‘Easy Lover’ sounding cymbal/bass/drum ‘punches’ mixed in with the usual chugging tune, something that sounds like a clap machine and a bit of piano.
“S.P.S” is down-beat again and has some Beatle-esque singing, deep note strings and woo-woo’s to which people can wave their lighters at Glastonbury. S.P.S stands for Scissors, Paper, Stone which is odd because I’m sure most people call it Paper, Scissors, Stone.
I’ve said in a previous post that Kasabian are as likeable as Marmite. I like Marmite so that’s good. A colleague of mine today referred to their music as ‘druggy music for boys’ which I can’t really argue with and take with a shrug and a smile while I chug down a can of Fosters. He probably really likes Coldplay so what does he know?