Written 5th June 2014:
Kasabian – 48:13
The Band: Tom Meighan (lead vocals), Serge Pizzorno (lead guitar/vocals), Chris Edwards (bass), Ian Matthews (drums)
After a 3-year break this week sees the return of perhaps Leicester’s second most famous son’s (after Gary Lineker of course!) with the return of Indie electro-rockers Kasabian and this their 5th studio album, cunningly named after its running time, ’48:13’. The latest record is the band’s follow-up to their successful 4th album ‘Velociraptor!’ which I previously reviewed in Flynndie Reviews #18 and very much enjoyed at the time describing it as a much more ‘experimental’ album by the band and displaying a great range of different styles for them including some nice stripped-down acoustic tracks (‘Goodbye Kiss’), some, raw and dirty electro-tracks (‘I Hear Voices’, ‘Switchblade Smiles’) to the more familiar ‘lad-rock’ (‘Days are Forgotten’ ‘Let’s Roll Just Like We Used To’) that Kasabian are well known for. We’ve had an early preview of new Kasabian material with recent upbeat single ‘Eez-Eh’ which has proved a bit of a ‘marmite-track’ with some fans loving it, while others were not too keen on it but let’s give the new album 48:13 a full chance and see how it shapes up.
1. (shiva) (1:07)2. bumblebeee (4:01)
3. stevie (4:45)
4. (mortis) (0:47)
5. doomsdate (3:40)
6. treat (6:53)
7. glass (4:48)
8. explodes (4:18)
9. (levitation) (1:19)
10. clouds (4:45)
11. eez-eh (3:00)
12. bow (4:27)
13. s.p.s (4:22)
So the album opens with ‘(shiva)’ (yes all the track-titles are listed in lower-case and played havoc with the spell-checker here) a short and subtle, lo-fi synth based instrumental track teasing the opening of this record, while the album fully picks up with second track ‘bumblebeee’ and sees Tom’s vocals opening with the urgently repeated ‘Yeah, Yeah, Yeah’ backed to rocking guitars. The verses here are again subtle and serene, backed with gentle keys before the main direct and to-the-point bridge “Life is so simple when you’re with me/Because when you’re with me/I’m in ecstasy/I’m in ecstasy”. This is a direct and more familiar type of Kasabian guitar-track early on the record. Initially slowly building-up with synth-sounds and percussion third track ‘stevie’ is a confident and assured, swaggering Kasabian track with an uplifting chorus “All the kids they say/Live to fight another day/Live to fight again”.
‘mortis’ is another unusual track-title and the second really subtle instrumental on the record, with very light-acoustic strumming and somewhat disturbing background noises, a trick commonly used on third album ‘West Ryder Pauper Lunatic Asylum’, before we pick up again with ‘doomsdate’ a fast, urgent guitar track featuring a quirky, squealing guitar riff over the main chorus “What you see is what you get with me/What you see is what you get with me”; it’s another fun track again with a dance-vibe at its heart. ‘treat’ is very much more electro-driven, Indie-pop, almost like a lite-version of ‘Switchblade Smiles’ from previous album ‘Velociraptor!’ but doesn’t quite reach the heights of that excellent and deliciously dark track from their 4th album yet there is no doubt that this track is a very much a direct and recognisable trademark Kasabian sound and becomes very much an instrumental in its second-half. ‘glass’ is much more stripped down, featuring Serge on vocal duties here for what is quite a trippy, psychedelic number midway through the record with spoken-word vocals towards the end of the track “A wise man told me that we are born with wings/But never taught to fly/Doesn’t that make you wonder why/Is it to prevent us from falling out of the sky”, while ‘explodes’ is a slow-burning electronic track again with Serge on vocals, as it chugs away at the listener “On and on it goes/Until my head explodes/On and on it goes/Until my head explodes” before ‘(levitation)’ is the final instrumental on the album (and you may have figured out by now that the three tracks in brackets on the track-listing are indeed this record’s instrumentals), and again here very much stripped down and psychedelic.
We continue with ‘clouds’ which opens with a shoe-gazing, day-dreaming vibe about it and a distant-effect used on Tom’s vocals before the track picks up more in pace after about a minute or so and sees Serge sharing vocal duties here with a funky guitar-riff picking away throughout. Previous come-back single ‘eez-eh’ continues the dance-vibe here picking-up the pace some more with a buzzing, trippy percussion-based rhythm to it, almost hip-hop influenced, with Tom spinning the track’s title throughout “Eez-eh/I’ll make you mad/Least I ain’t sleazy/I’m just trying to put the world to right”. The track reminds me a bit in style of Reverend and the Makers and also ‘Hey Boy, Hey Girl’ by The Chemical Brothers but just overall felt a little bit more clumsy and awkward to me upon my first few listens but as I said earlier many others like this track and it’s not by any means terrible in my opinion.
Next we have ‘bow’ another much softer track on the record, showing somewhat of a subtle nod to a Noel Gallagher solo type of track “Take a bow and say goodbye/And let the hours passing by/That you get to feel so high/And it’s over, it’s all over now”. It’s a nice serene track and certainly the ballad of the album. Finally we have closer ‘s.p.s’, an acoustic Beatles-eque stripped-down and dreamy number which I could picture going down well at the summer festivals with the sun slowing drawing to a close, it’s a calm, peaceful melody to close the record with.
So for me then much like when I first heard ‘eez-eh’, ’48:13’ is somewhat of a mixed-bag as an album. There are certainly some strong tracks here ‘bumblebeee’ and ‘doomsdate’ being two standout moments on the record and are certainly single material, which are complimented by some of the more lo-fi electronic-driven beats found here such as ‘stevie’ and ‘treat’. The instrumentals throughout the album don’t offer too much for me but perhaps round the album off as a full psychedelic experience and overall I personally think that if you really enjoyed the two most recent Kasabian records you will still find plenty here to like and enjoy but for me while this album flows well it doesn’t quite reach the heights of earlier Kasabian albums the self-titled ‘Kasabian’ or ‘Empire’ and I’m going to give this one 7 out of 10; it’s a direct and familiar Kasabian sound for me, not really any more or any less but it’s good to have them back and I’m looking forward to their headline set at Glastonbury this summer.
Track 2 ‘bumblebee’ – Live on Later… with Jools Hollandhttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZMAd4bYF0kU
Track 11 ‘eez-eh’https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ST6nEvIEY4s
Band Website:www.kasabian.co.uk - Note you can stream the new album early this week from the band’s website