3.5 out of 5 stars
This much is certain: Kasabian is anything but your ordinary rock band. It may very well be that this statement alone is the only surefire fact about the Leicester, England group.
Spawned out of the boredom of the modern pop scene, the band’s sound is best described as a combination of Britpop and British style psychedelic (i.e. Primal Scream) with processed beats and electronics in a similar vain of an artist like DJ Shadow.
The resulting sound is really in a league of its own and does not share many similarities with any one artist or band. For example, the song “Sunrise” features heavy, druggy guitars combined with a backdrop of electronic loops and drums, yet is still certifiably pop.
The title track “Empire” is much the same with interesting rhythm changes and a synth string ensemble thrown in for good measure.
And of course worth mentioning is “Shoot the Runner,” which most clearly characterizes the swagger that has made the group darlings of the press in the UK: “Shoot the runner, shoot, shoot, the runner. I’m the king and she’s my queen, bitch.”
To sum it all up, this is an entertaining change of pace from the traditional rock scene of today.
Key Tracks: “Empire,” “Sunrise”
Gran Bel Fisher
“Full Moon Cigarette”
4 out of 5 stars
To start, Gran Bel Fisher is the name (or at least the stage name) of the front man of this group, and not a made up band name itself.
Anyway, this is one of those bands that sounds nothing like it looks.
When this, his debut record, came across my desk, it featured mostly black artwork with a few eerily ominous black and white projections.
If I was a betting man, I would have guessed that this was an album of gravely-voiced, mostly acoustic guitar driven, DIY (do-it-yourself) type singer-songwriter material.
But, heed the first rule of music: never judge an album by its cover art.
In truth, this is a wonderful album of piano-driven alternative-pop style songs that, like a good novel, build upon themselves as they progress before finally climaxing in a glorious cascade of pop melodies and harmonies within huge, hook-filled choruses and bridges.
If any of that got you all excited (and not about music), then you have issues and should go ask Kayy for advice.
But seriously, if you’re a fan of Coldplay, Spymob or some of Ben Folds’ less frenetic moments, then there is no reason at all why you shouldn’t enjoy this album.
It may just be one of the best things to come out all year long.
Key Tracks: “Bound By Love,” “Blow Your Mind,” “Full Moon Cigarette”