Ayo Jegede
reviews editor
June 04, 2005
Amazon Disco:
Kasabian Kasabian
March 8, 2005
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Rock Music Reviews

arising from the christening dew of NME ink jizz, Kasabian get by through culling and re-hashing the halcyon days of Brit Rock: a time where the Gallagher brothers' petulant feuding was thought to give Oasis' music fraternal depth and The Stereophonics were considered bold. Kasabian is pints at the pub and hipster soccer chants by proxy because, damn, 1994 was sooooo sweet in merry old England; Britain must be awfully quick to eulogize even the most mediocre musical fashions. sadder still, many stateside bought into them because we think they rock a style entirely anathema to effete Brit Pop.

a transcript of Linda Kasabian's testimony in the Tate-LaBianca trial shows that she's curt, even prosaic, about the details. there she is sedately explaining the moral depravity of a cult killer. "she was there," you're meant to say, "she was right there when it happened!" so goes the band's desired reaction from you, each track purposely reaching into the historical trove and pulling out trinkets of novelty and wonder. a kind of befuddlement sweeps over you at first as they seem to accurately bundle the Brit Rock diaspora and make you realize just how good The Holy Bible and Who's Next are. lead single 'Club Foot' struts in as the group's manifesto, the drums and bass ensconcing the listener in a web of posture. others like 'Test Transmission' and 'LSF' groove with a psychedelic edge, Tom Meighan nonchalantly commanding the space but not overpowering it.

ironically, the one conclusion i drew about Linda Kasabian was just how aloof she was throughout the entire ordeal. i saw her as a typical pothead flower girl who lacked the sapience to admit reality, a former Manson lackey rocketed to stardom through her own indifference. the 70s were a bit of an odd epoch, both for its remarkableness and its horribly static fashions. i found the latter feeling elicited more often all through Kasabian, an album that comes off trying to feel good rather than be good. the entire thing is mostly edgeless, a random juxtaposition of pieces with varying similarity. all through i waited for the great punch, the point where a band can be narrowed to a particular signature like the Manic Street Preachers were narrowed to a political brand or The Who to a musical signature. it never comes.

it doesn't come on 'Club Foot,' which boasts meaningless lyrics like "One, take control of me/you're messing with the enemy/I said it's two, it's another trick/messing with my mother we can/Chase down an empty street" meant to inspire a kind of simian appreciation of their style but fails to prove influential. it doesn't come on 'Reason is Treason,' a stiflingly staccato piece remarkable only because it has the least amount of drum machine and uninteresting distortion, unlike 'I.D.,' 'Running Battle,' and 'Test Transmission,' all of whom plod along with the same studio gimmickry impressive over a decade ago. the instrumental 'Ovary Stripe' alone--where guitarist Sergio Pizzomo could have actually, oh, played guitar--wades in a pool of pointlessness. this music only tries to draw the mood of Brit Rock, never does it try to be an accomplished Brit Rock record.

you'll feel hoodwinked, mostly because you'll still believe the album merits a C for effort and because you're only out about $10. i understand that the name is meant to convey a sense of devilish testimony from someone privy to hell. Kasabian's going to directly tell you about Oasis and Bowie, about the good old days when Manchester was tuff and gritty, the streets lined with unfinished fags and streams of Guinness. the problem, then, is that the album seeks only to reflect the good ol' days rather than produce some good ol' music. maybe Linda Kasabian's testimony was dead on, but the language she used offered little to no inspiration.

Release date: March 8, 2005
Label: RCA
Rating: 5.0 / 10