Kasabian – 48:13 (First Listen)

Following over a year of the band being shrouded in secrecy whilst writing new music, Kasabian finally unveiled details of their 5th studio album earlier this week. Known simply as 48:13, the album features 13 songs which, according to guitarist/vocalist Serge Pizzorno, all fall under one of three categories – Bangers, Mystical and Campfire. The world received its first taste of the album earlier this week when the Tom Meighan-fronted four-piece dropped the ravey Eez-Eh upon us all (banger, for sure). Explodes followed the next day, and today selected individuals were able to listen to the album in full at a special listening party inside London’s famous Abbey Road Studios. Our friend Tom Wells was present, and was able to tell us more about the album.

Instrumental album opener (shiva), the first of three instrumentals, captures the mood perfectly with swirly synths and drones before Bumblebee kicked off proceedings as the record’s main opener. Bumblebee was performed for the first time in Paris last night (April 30), giving fans some idea of it how it sounds. Described as nuts, this song is shaping up to be one of Kasabian’s finest songs with a heavy in-your-face riff, eerie wailed vocals and Meighan’s chant of “When you are with me, I’m in ecstasy”. This swaggering, full-on attitude was swiftly substituted for the orchestral rave of Stevie. The instrumental (mortis) followed, with its Ennio Morricone-hints making way for the explosive Doomsday, which is an epic amalgamation of Chemical Brothers-esque rave and arms-in-the-air rock. Treat was one of the eerier tracks on the record, with its minimal-yet-dreamy beats bound to send the whole of Worthy Farm into a frenzy when the band headline Glastonbury Festival this Summer. The melancholic dub of Glass (complete with deeply meaningful lyrics) made way for Explodes (one of 5 songs with Pizzorno on lead vocals), which slowed the pace down a little with its hypnotic melody line and wobbly bass. This was before a catastrophically heavy drop brought the listener to their knees due to its sheer power. Instrumental western-tinged track (levitation) made way for the futuristic melodies of Clouds, hazily progressing in all its space-rock glory as 48:13 slowly nears its end.

What’s interesting about 48:13 is that, granted the clear electronic influence, there are only 6 songs on the album which feature guitars. The majority of the album is full-on synths, rave and electronic drops. On paper this might seem like a massive departure, but on record the songs still sound like Kasabian, and they’re still nuts. One such guitar-free song is lead single Eez Eh, whose ravey synths and full-on party atmosphere slowly lead the album towards a hypnotic end. Bow is the penultimate track on the record, combining pensive lyrics and a mellow atmosphere with sweet electronic elements and Serge’s lead vocals.

Finally, album closer S.P.S. (formerly known as Scissor Paper Stone) is described as sounding like Oasis’s Cigarette’s in Hell and Beatles classic Hey Jude on acid. If you can imagine how that would sound, you deserve a medal.

48:13, as Serge Pizzorno would agree, is what being abducted by aliens on ecstasy sounds like. And that’s a fact. Bring on June.

Extra Contribution from Tom Wells.