sat 19/09/2020

CD: Kasabian - 48 13 | reviews, news & interviews

CD: Kasabian - 48.13

CD: Kasabian - 48.13

Fifth album from Glastonbury 2014 headliners kicks up admirable electro-rock raucousness

Kasabian, in the pink via designer Aitor Throup

What sometimes gets lost in the great blur of testosterone and hype surrounding Kasabian’s public image is that a decade ago they released a self-titled debut that’s one of the most exciting albums of the 21st century. A bunch of hairies from a commune in Leicester with a sexy guitarist and a good line in drug-endorsing, anarchistic, Sixties-style patter, they turned out to be one of those bands who decide, week-by-week, which of their heroes they fancy emulating.

What sometimes gets lost in the great blur of testosterone and hype surrounding Kasabian’s public image is that a decade ago they released a self-titled debut that’s one of the most exciting albums of the 21st century. A bunch of hairies from a commune in Leicester with a sexy guitarist and a good line in drug-endorsing, anarchistic, Sixties-style patter, they turned out to be one of those bands who decide, week-by-week, which of their heroes they fancy emulating. Like Primal Scream before them, sometimes the results spectacularly surpass mere imitation.

If their last album, 2011’s Velociraptor, returned to the sound of their debut and tinted it with lysergic retro-pop, their fifth also embraces their bullish electro-funk roots, but amps them to more muscular levels, adding a dose of stadium techno here and there. The latter flavour is most obvious on the single “Eez-eh” which sounds, especially during its latter half, like a rock’n’roll Underworld. Elsewhere apt comparisons might be Death in Vegas and UNKLE - programmed beats clashing invigoratingly with guitars - while “SPS” is as likeable a sister cut to Screamadelica’s “Damaged” as Primal Scream never wrote.

The lyrics sometimes don’t bear close scrutiny. I rather like “Walking through a shopping centre/On a very strange adventure” from the pulsing psyche-rocker “Clouds” but the trite closing guest rap on “Glass” is a love-it-or-hate-it affair, admirably name-checking Rosa Parks but opening with the dodgiest couplets this side of Faithless’s Maxi Jazz.

At its best, however, on the thumpingly catchy crowd-pleaser “Bumblebee”, the driving house groove of “Treat”, or the contagiously narrated, epic stomper “Stevie”, Kasabian are on fire. There’s little flab here, only an album that arrives in the ring with flare, sonic spark and genuine festival anthems. Kasabian could really do with exploring their feminine side - a touch less of the relentless blokey cockiness and they might hit unforeseen heights - but until they do, 48.13 kicks up a welcome and belligerently engaging storm.

Overleaf: Watch the video for "Eez-eh"

The techno flavour is most obvious on the single “Eez-eh” which sounds, especially during its latter half, like a rock’n’roll Underworld

rating

Editor Rating: 
3
Average: 3 (1 vote)

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