With Oasis’s iconic power shrivelled by the white heat of brotherly loathing and its two main players going their separate ways, some might say there remains a stadium-sized gap where the Mancunian band once stood. It looked as though Leicester’s Kasabian were the most likely lads to fill it around the time of their second LP. Favouring Godzilla-scaled indie-rock anthems and fired up with all the swaggering self-belief a title like Empire might suggest, the 2006 album cemented their status as contenders. It went to number one in the UK, as did their more adventurous, psychedelic groove-rock third.
If it is indeed time for Kasabian to step into Oasis’s suede loafers, then this is an oddly subdued record to have released now. Apparently guided by a Mexican spirit (bless), songwriter/guitarist Sergio Pizzorno has dipped into mellow rock balladry and revisited mid-’90s dance-pop, rather than upped the max-rockin’ ante, as you might expect. Of course, there’s more than one way to skin a commercial cat, and the hybrid Primals homages that are ‘Re-wired’ and ‘Days Are Forgotten’, the title track’s Prodigy-aligned electro rock and the darkly grinding ‘Switchblade Smiles’ should do the stadium trick.
But Pizzorno has always talked about smuggling psychedelia and random weird stuff into the charts. Cue the rueful ‘La Fee Verte’ (which shows Tom Meighan has lifted his lyrical game some measure), the Roy Orbison-sourcing ‘Goodbye Kiss’ and ‘Neon Noon’, which suggests late nights spent listening to Tangerine Dream as well as Liam and Lennon. For a band that advertised England’s 2010 away kit, Kasabian have more going on than many. It’s just a strange time for them to deliver a ‘grower’.