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Kasabian

Kasabian
RCA

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At its best, Britpop top contender Kasabian wears its influences on the sleeve of its long-sleeved hooded T-shirt: early '90s indie-dance crossovers (Stone Roses), hirsute '70s groupie-shaggers (Faces), progressive-house crescendo and Buddha Bar worldly head-nod. Sometimes, the results are brilliant, like on the radio hit "Club Foot," big-beat acid trip "Cutt Off," or gritty Madchester revival "L.S.F." But listen to a track such as "I.D.," with its "Baba O'Riley" keys and stadium-ready heavy-reverb vocals and guitar. Kasabian is following in the footsteps of its obvious biggest influence, Happy Mondays, in combining overblown '70s rock with disco and more current club sounds. But unlike the heady underground dance of the Mondays' times, Kasabian does so in the post-Sasha, post-Oakenfold world, in which the cultural difference between bloated stadium rocker and bloated mega-club deejay is minimal at best.

 

Most of Kasabian is arrogant and brash in the best of Britain's "We're the best fookin' band ever, ya get me?" tradition. The occasional Middle Eastern or Eastern Bloc ethno hook adds singularity. The vague political jabs, couched in meandering druggie lyrical style, take it straight back. And Kasabian ends up a brilliant EP hidden within an above-average album.

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