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Kasabian Stay Big on 48:13

Tuesday, October 07, 2014 Rob Samuelson

When Tom Meighan and Sergio Pizzorno heard “I Wanna Be Adored” for the first time, their brains must have turned into pools of ecstatic goo. Everything their band, Kasabian, has done since their breakout 2004 self-titled debut has been about reaching for the biggest of everything, the hugest hooks, bombastic personalities, the strongest drugs, the stuff of rock gods. Mad ambition is their thing, always swinging with everything they have.

Their latest album, 48:13, follows that ambition to its logical end, with some songs reaching those Stone Roses and Primal Scream heights, and a small minority arriving with a thud. A massive synth rock sound builds from silence on opening overture “Shiva” and comes roaring to life on “Bumblebee,” a stadium slayer with gargantuan “Hey!”s and a trippy, wandering vocal melody from Meighan that inspires head rolling – not head banging, mind you, but an oozing psychedelic call to action.

The problem with the minute-long “Shiva” is its inspiration for other half-songs on the album, like “Mortis” and “Levitation,” that don't amount to much. They don't flow into their successors with the same power and instead come off as lackadaisical filler. Kasabian is better than these songs, and their chops are on display on “Treat” – which features a synth line that plays like a beefed up version of 50 Cent's “In Da Club” – and “Bow,” a contemplative dance floor filler which brings to mind a good version of mid-period Linkin Park, with a groovy breakdown and synthetic sleigh bells proving strong companions.

But the crown jewel of 48:13 is album closer “SPS,” an end-of-the-party comedown that sounds like a Rolling Stones cover by melancholy-era Beck. Slide guitar and restrained keys sound like the sun is coming up. People are passed out on the floor, half-drunk bottles perilously close to spilling on the carpet next to them. Meighan is one of the few still awake, bleary-eyed but triumphant, having had a wonderful time. He feels bittersweet about the moment, mentioning the fleeting nature of time, but he's glad he experienced it nonetheless. It's a mature, halfway sober look back at immature, not at all sober behavior from a band that has filled its glass to the brim and shotgunned it time and again. 

Kasabian's new album, 48:13, is available now on iTunes, Google Play, and in stores.

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