Kasabian - For Crying Out Loud

by James Gerard Rating:7 Release Date:2017-05-05

Kasabian has been one of Brit-rock’s biggest bands for the better part of a decade.  And after six albums worth of stretching the boundaries of alt-rock, the band felt like a return to their “guitar roots” (as guitarist Serge Pizzorno recently put it) was in order.  And with that sentiment duly noted, the truth of the matter is that Pizzorno’s declaration is only partially accurate, as the band’s forthcoming For Crying Out Loud is as much a step in a new direction as it is a re-working of the past.

Sure, the big guitars do make their way back into front of the mix, but For Crying Out Loud (save for the strikingly literal album cover which is either genius or moronic...I just can’t decide) also addresses the ‘other’ thing that has been missing from the past couple of Kasabian records: songs.  You see, it wasn’t just the band’s decision to move away from punk-rock guitars (and towards laptop-electronica) on albums like Velociraptor and 48:13 that may have left their fanbase shrugging their collective shoulders, it was that the group’s penchant for insanely clever hooks masquerading as big, loud rock (as displayed on their brilliant debut and perhaps perfected on 2006’s Empire) had all but disappeared.

So that is precisely where For Crying Out Loud really scores points, it’s a damn good collection of songs.  With an almost ‘stream-of-consciousness’ sense of focused brevity (the record was apparently written in about six weeks), this album instantly recalls the frenetic energy of the band’s early years while never losing sight of the accessibility they’ve spent the past decade refining.

Album opener “Ill Ray (The King)” is a floor stomper of a romp that immediately sets the ‘back to basics’ tone for the album in place.  Songs like “You’re In Love With a Psycho”, “Good Fight” and “Comeback Kid” are perfect examples of the ‘one hook after another’ approach, each arriving at that huge, anthemic chorus almost immediately.  There are a couple of missteps here and there (the faux-boogie-nights groove of “Are You Looking For Action?” never really gets off the ground), but for the most part, pretense is kept to a bare minimum.

The final third of the record, with the understated “All Through the Night” and subdued album closer “Put Your Life On It” finds the non-stop assault of swagger-infused tempo finally grinding to a halt, but by that point the boys have already given fans half a dozen new rockers that will undoubtedly front load sets on their upcoming tour.

There comes the point for every band where they need to decide if they are content to represent a singular point in time for their fanbase, or if they want to continue to push themselves towards an ever-growing audience; because outlasting your initial generation of listeners often requires an artistic rebirth at some point.  Kasabian has doubled down on the future with For Crying Out Loud, a record that could easily mark a jumping on point for a whole new generation of fans.

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