Kasabian – Happenings

Concise, punchy, and bonkers...

Kasabian have never truly been a critic’s band. A group who wanted to make music for the people, their openness, and propensity for big, festival-smashing choruses has made them an easy target. Perceptions of a laddish following haven’t helped, but these definitions have also served to obscure some of their more bonkers moments – an electro-rock-disco fusion, Kasabian are one of the more eclectic, creatively daring mainstream acts going.

‘Happenings’ is their eighth studio album, but it’s reason chapter two of their current iteration. Serge Pizzorno never wanted the role of frontman, but circumstances – the excising of Tom Meighan – meant otherwise. A far gentler, more relaxed soul than media perceptions of his band might assume, Serge is a true music fan, and this has enhanced their eclecticism, while adding fresh colour to their music.

So, ‘Happenings’. Even for the most hardened Kasabian-hater, this is going to be difficult to dislike. For one, it’s only 10 tracks long, a mere 26 minutes – 60 seconds less than the Ramones debut. Given its minute timespan, the haters won’t get much wriggle-room.

But that’s to focus too much on the doubters, the nay-sayers. Kasabian is a built by and for their fans – that’s why they continue, and it’s what fuels ‘Happenings’. Sharpened, finessed songwriting, it taps into the raucous spirit of their live shows, honouring that energy but with studio technology at their disposal.

Opener ‘Darkest Lullaby’ is a killer dose of disco-meets-rock bedlam, with Serge roaring “your love tears me apart” as the song threatens to collapse around him. ‘Call’ is pristine electro-rock, while ‘How Far Will You Go’ feels like a call of defiance.

‘Coming Back To Me Good’ is a dose of optimism that is pitched just right for the festival months, but the crunching ‘Italian Horror’ adds some grit, and some darkness. Closing on ‘Algorithms’ – “we’re not here for a good time / just here for a good time…” – this is a breathless, frequently breath-taking assault on the senses. If 2022 album ‘The Alchemist’s Euphoria’ represented a clearing of the decks, a shake-up from top to the bottom, then ‘Happenings’ continues this process. As times, it feels as though you’re caught in a snow-globe, being shaken up and down, from side to side – watching the pieces fall is a thrilling experience.

7/10

Words: Robin Murray

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