“This is a re-set”, Kasabian’s Serge Pizzorno said when asked about their latest album prior to its release. The Alchemist’s Euphoria marks a very interesting milestone for the band: their first release since the departure of former lead singer Tom Meighan, who left the band in 2020. Until then, the Leicester-based rock ‘n’ roll heavyweights had maintained a Gallagher-brothers-esque style that saw Pizzorno handle the bulk of the song writing with Meighan being the brash, abrasive frontman. However, with Meighan leaving the band due to personal issues, Pizzorno has had to step up to sing lead vocals. With the creative process having had time to adjust to the new dynamic, this new record showcases the new Kasabian.
The first single for the album, ALYGATYR, was released last year and signalled the first material since Meighan’s departure. This tune was classic Kasabian: filthy guitar riffs, freight train drums and rough, distorted vocals. It also featured a feel-good chorus that made this track a winner. It seemed as if the band were reviving themselves with the same sound that has rocked fans for years.
However, now the rest of the album has been released, it seems that ALYGATYR is the only song on the record that winds back the clock on Kasabian’s familiar sound. Unfortunately, apart from the odd morsel here and there, this latest release offers hardly anything that long-time fans of the band can cling to. Swirling space synths and chords that don’t really go with each other run throughout the record, deconstructing the band we all knew into a completely new sound. Of course, there is nothing wrong with delving into the electro-musical toy box or experimenting with more adventurous harmony. However, what is disappointing about it is that the sudden change in the band’s sound is sure to deter fans who wanted a taste of the old Kasabian.
Some people may prefer a fresher, more inventive track list. Pizzorno’s love of electronic music is well-known amongst fans, and it would make sense to bring more of that to the table given his heightened role in the band. T.U.E (the ultraview effect) and STARGAZR in particular are laced with a dancier electro sound that gives the record a ravey twist. This side to the album could attract new interest in the band, which may well be their intention on release. Also, to add another dimension, the record touches on a sweeter, more ballad-like style with tunes such as THE WALL, which evokes feelings of reminiscence amongst the progressive, ethereal nature of the other tracks.
The success of the album will effectively depend on what fans are looking for. Those wanting more of the Kasabian they know and love are sure to be slightly disappointed (while ALYGATYR and SCRIPTVREprovide respite, they’re no Club Foot). However, those seeking innovation will find this an exciting listen and one that sets the direction that the band are likely to move in over the coming years. For those interested, Kasabian are also currently touring, continuing on from their triumph supporting Liam Gallagher at Knebworth 2022.