More about: Kasabian
Kasabian have always been more experimental than they’ve been given credit for over the years, yet their reputation as lad-rock flag-bearers persists. They haven't really produced a consistently enjoyable record since 2011's Velociraptor! and in truth, The Alchemist’s Euphoria, their seventh, does little to change this, only displaying scattered moments of genius across its admittedly lean run-time.
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Clearly, there has been some attempt to distance themselves from the band’s previous incarnation, which is understandable given the circumstances surrounding the departure of frontman Tom Meighan. ‘SCRIPTVRE’ and ‘ALYGATYR’ are both classic Kasabian singles, featuring the hulking guitar hooks we’ve come to expect, but here, they’re infused with the house and electronic flourishes from Serge Pizzorno’s solo voyage on 2019’s The S.L.P. Two examples of a thrilling blend of the obscene and the ultra serious.
It’s a fine balancing act to maintain though, and there are too many occasions where Pizzorno pushes the boundaries of good taste a little too far, as is the case with the terribly inane ‘ROCKET FUEL’. Meanwhile, ‘T.U.E (the ultra view effect)’ includes entire sections that ape Pink Floyd so closely to the point of parody. ‘THE WALL’ is derivative stadium pop fodder, tailormade for a sports game soundtrack. Gentle closer ‘LETTING GO’ delivers a significantly bigger emotional punch with a much less cluttered arrangement.
‘CHEMICALS’ and opener ‘ALCHEMIST’ are possibly the most successful at forging a fresh new path for the group. The former is the type of surging, mature ballad the band don’t write often enough, the latter a concise exploration of grief, assembled using a diverse sonic palette. Again, this isn’t a huge diversion musically, but both tracks share an introspective and mournful quality not usually present in Pizzorno’s writing.
The Alchemist’s Euphoria is a promising new start for the four-piece, but like their previous two efforts, it’s a patchy, somewhat unfocused record that showcases plenty of ambition and enough bangers to please the Kasabian faithful — without ever threatening to topple their very best work.
The Alchemist's Euphoria arrives 12 August via Columbia Records.
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More about: Kasabian