Posted by: Steve Coplan | September 22, 2006


If there is one word that describes Kasabian’s second album it would be derivative. The Guardian review of Empire identifies Primal Scream and Chemical Brothers as the prevalent tropes, which I would agree with. Since both hit their peak in the early to mid 1990s and carved out new territory at the intersection of Britpop, electronic music and bass-heavy rock, that’s nothing to be ashamed of. What is disappointing is exactly how derivative it is especially since Kasabian’s first album is probably one of the best debut albums. When I saw them at the Bowery Ballroom in 2005 I was blown away. They have a pretty complex sound, mixing live instrumentation (heavy on the drums and guitar feedback) with DJing and vocals but you could have been listening to the CD the band was so tight.

The genius of the first album is visible on the Last Trip, but I find myself trying to remember where I’ve heard Me Plus One before (Primal Scream) or Sun Rise Light Flies (Setting Sun from Chemical Brothers ‘Dig your own hole’) before. (Still working on the provenance of Shoot the Runner which sounds more like circa 1976). If Kasabian weren’t so patently ambitious (the Guardian points out they aspire to assume the Oasis mantle), much of this could be overlooked since the album definitely has its merits.

Postscript: Decent interview of Kasabian’s Sergio Pizzorno on xFM here.


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