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Kasabian - The Alchemist's Euphoria (Album Review)

Friday, 12 August 2022 Written by Graeme Marsh

Photo: Neil Bedford

What do you do when your lead singer leaves the band? Carry on with a new recruit? Dissolve altogether? Or carry on with a current band member stepping up to the mic in the mould of Genesis or, in a way, Joy Division and New Order.

Kasabian went for the latter after Tom Meighan was axed from the Leicester outfit after being convicted of assaulting his partner in 2020, with guitarist and main songwriter Serge Pizzorno taking centre stage. It wasn’t as if he was a stranger to the limelight, anyway, with his vocals already in the mix and a heavy weight on his shoulders in terms of the band’s musical direction.

‘The Alchemist’s Euphoria’ is Kasabian’s first album without Meighan, so there’s plenty to mull over as the new line up stride forward without their enigmatic frontman. In short, it’s a mixed bag, but one that is eclectic and ambitious as they attempt to cover a lot of ground.

Silly, misspelled song titles aside, there’s little to remind of the band in its previous guise, with Alygatyr perhaps the most ‘Kasabian sounding’ effort, although it’s more like a parody of who they used to be.

The problem is, do you have the ability to detach from what they were? If you do, then it’s not as bad as it may seem. Elsewhere, it’s difficult to know what their new identity is intended to be.

Bookended by decent standalone moments that perhaps don’t complement the album as a whole (the melodically superior Alchemist and the largely acoustic closer Letting Go), what lies between sways this way and that, searching for a direction. Scriptvre is more like Red Hot Chili Peppers than Kasabian, Rocket Fuel has a weak Prodigy-like intro and the minimal Strictly Old School reveals a lack of power, and not only from Pizzorno’s softer vocals, which miss the swagger Meighan provided.

But halfway through the album, things improve. The Wall is a tender piano-led ballad, not something you would have expected, while T.U.E. is an electronic delight. It hints at the early Chris Karloff days that ushered in an exciting new band with a brilliant debut, but this is a different vein of electronica and it’s very impressive. 

Stargazr is even better, its mesmerising arpeggiated synths reminiscent of Underworld or Orbital in places—this is exciting, and surely where a bright post-Meighan future lies. Chemicals is another winner, the most high-octane number here and hideously catchy to boot. It’s the closest the band get to the euphoria suggested by the album’s title.

At times ‘The Alchemist’s Euphoria’ struggles for definition but once they find their stride things get very tasty. If we get more of the same further down the line then we might just have something special to look forward to, but it’s time to forget the old Kasabian.

Kasabian Upcoming Tour Dates are as follows

Thu October 20 2022 - BELFAST Telegraph Building
Fri October 21 2022 - DUBLIN Olympia Theatre
Fri October 28 2022 - MANCHESTER AO Arena
Sat October 29 2022 - LONDON Alexandra Palace
Mon October 31 2022 - DONCASTER Doncaster Dome
Wed November 02 2022 - CARDIFF Motorpoint Arena
Fri November 04 2022 - BIRMINGHAM Utilita Arena
Sat November 05 2022 - GLASGOW OVO Hydro

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