Kasabian's For Crying Out Loud - Saving guitar music from the abyss?
Kasabian make big claims for their new album 'For Crying Out Loud' - and themselves - but are lacking in subtlety, says Barry Egan
It's a bit of luck that the new Kasabian album is not all bad given that there are so many people that frontman Tom Meighan has slagged off. (He said Pete Doherty looked like "a f***ing tramp", Britney Spears like "a tranny who forgot the wig" and Madonna resembled his "old gym teacher". Ouch.)
Tom won't be best pleased that The Guardian called For Crying Out Loud possibly a bit blokey.
Which, of course, it is, but that isn't necessarily a surprise. I mean, "Everyone's on bugle/we're being watched by Google" from their 2014 track Eez-Eh had a certain laddish ring to it, didn't it?
Voted best live act and best act in the world at the Q Magazine Awards a few years ago, Kasabian have always been anthemic, high-velocity purveyors of fun, albeit somewhat lacking in subtlety...
This album from Leicester's finest certainly won't reinvent the wheel, not least because it is a bit predictable in places.
This is despite the fact that the audaciously coiffured Kasabian main songwriter and guitarist Sergio Pizzorno said recently of For Crying Out Loud - which Pizzorno wrote in a burst of creativity in six weeks: "Our new album is about saving guitar music from the abyss." For Crying Out Loud is not without its moments, however.
On the track Wasted, Tom is singing forlornly that "there's been so much time wasted without you". On Comeback Kid, he is singing, variously, about a "nosebleed in a pound shop" and a "big cheese in a bedsit".
And then there is the contentious matter of You're In Love With A Psycho (which the Financial Times dubbed "a forgettable Britrock anthem".)
American actor and writer Henry Rollins said once that maybe he was just a psycho, "and the stage is a better place to go than either the loony bin or somewhere else".
Kasabian's wordsmith Pizzorno has a different take on matters psycho, courtesy of the aforesaid forgettable Britrock anthem...
"You know it's the place I need/ But you got me walking circles like a dog on a lead," sings Meighan.
"And the doctors say I'm crazy, that I'm eight miles thick/ I'm like the taste of macaroni on a seafood stick. And you got me switched on, baby, like electric eel/And I'm tight with Axel Foley, that's just how I feel... You're in love with a psycho."
I've met Meighan and he is a bit of a lark. A full-on lark. In between rants about life, love and the universe, he was particularly explosive, I recall, over a certain type of minced pork: "When was the last time I got really angry? Yesterday. I was on a train and I ordered a sausage and it had herbs in it! You don't want f***ing herbs in a sausage!"
And then almost without stopping, Tom said on the evening in October, 2014, on which I interviewed him: "From the age of three I was obsessed with Michael Jackson. I saw Thriller and I sh*t myself. He was my Elvis. That's why I am in a band, my dream was to be a performer. I worked in a Doc Martens factory when I was a kid. Then me and Serge, we walked the Yellow Brick Road and we got to Oz and we got to look behind the curtain. Like Lennon said, "if you don't look around, you don't see, man!"
And then: "I ran my dad over in my car by mistake. It was a freak accident. He has a beer belly. God was on my side that day. I didn't see my dad and I took him over in my automatic. I could have killed him. It was in a car park in a place called The Cradock Arms in Leicester. He said to me, 'You f***ing dickhead'. Man, I could have killed him.
"I'm going to call my book Don't Kill Your Dad," Tom laughed, manically. You can see why Tom's idol, former Leicester City manager and current Ireland manager Martin O'Neill once said to him: "Thomas, I'd sign you on your energy alone!"