Posted by Anthony - 28th July 2014
The Leicester lads have issued their 5th studio album called 48:13, which is its total running time. Judged in isolation it is a good enough affair. But how does it fit in with the preceding 4 albums and Kasabian's career since the band's first release in 2004?
Kasabian's last album was Velociraptor in late 2011. It was heralded with some bold publicity. Guitarist Serge Pizzorno said: “Well, it's epic..........there are tunes on there that are going to take people to a new place.” Such a pronouncement, some would say arrogance, is almost bound to lead to sorrow, and so it was. The fans were somewhat divided and the album was not the huge seller that Serge may have been anticipating. It did reach No. 1 in the UK album charts and when we reviewed it we liked it a lot. In fact, over time it has become one of our favourite albums.
It seems that Kasabian have listened to the relatively small number of fans who were disappointed. Before the release of 48:13 singer Tom Meighan explained that “Less is more you know. It's direct. Serge has stripped it right back. It's unbelievable.” Oh dear, here we go again!
So, how does 48:13 stack up? It harks back to the original Kasabian. Gone is the evolution in songwriting, musical ideas and polish that started with West Ryder Pauper Lunatic Asylum in 2009 and further progressed so stylishly with Velociraptor in 2011. There may be a few reasons for this lack of progress, indeed a wish to take a step back. Listening to the cries from the mosh pit has clearly affected the band. Kasabian should have had faith in the fans who were happy to join the evolutionary journey. Further, Serge Pizzorno is the only songwriter in the band and his songs for 48:13 display a dip in quality. Staying with Serge, he is the sole producer of 48:13. On both of the two previous albums he co-produced with Dan the Automator, and Dan's absence has resulted in a rather below par production.
This is not intended to knock the new album sideways, just an expression of disappointment that it is not the further advancement we hoped Kasabian would achieve. In its own right the album has its moments and contains 5 tracks worthy of comment.
Bumblebee is a good song and given a typical Kasabian rousing sound. No doubt it will go on the become a dance floor favourite.
Stevie is another good track and the festival anthem of the album.
Glass is a very attractive slower song that could have been one of the best tracks. In our view it is ruined by a spoken last segment by rapper Suli Breaks which just stands out like sore thumb from the rest of the song.
Explodes contains some good musical ideas but does not quite pull it off.
S.P.S is the album closer. Strange that the best song, with a very Beatelesque sound, is a slow and haunting one of some beauty and untypical of the album as a whole.
Throughout the album are interspersed 3 short musical interludes. Two are of no particular interest and don't seem to serve much purpose. The third one is called Mortis and is a slow and tuneful snippet of a song which should have had more time spent on it and have been worked up into a full length track. It would would have been worth the effort.
In closing, if you like Kasabian and their previous albums you may well enjoy this one. It is certainly instantly recognisable as Kasabian. However, if you really appreciated Velociraptor you may find that 48:13 is not so satisfying.