Kasabian Happenings 1

Kasabian – Happenings (Sony)

“We’re not here for a long time. Just here for a good time. This one’s for the weirdos. One day we’ll be heroes.” (‘Algorithms’). Living in the ephemeral moment and connecting with people is what songwriter, producer and promoted lead vocalist Serge Pizzorno and his bandmates (bassist Chris Edwards, drummer Ian Matthews, and recently-made-permanent lead guitarist Tim Carter) would like to express on their eight album as Kasabian. Fresh from their surprise appearance at this year’s Glastonbury, the Leicester Indie rock quartet convey the idea of short impact on an album that lasts only 28 minutes long and doesn’t feature a track beyond 3:23. It’s an exercise in efficient conciseness and perhaps a metaphor for life, as they densely cramp a lot of lyrics and oomph into each song. Like a shinkansen, it powerful wooshes past making you yearn for more entertainment.

Kasabian’s latest album Happenings (which can mean an “artistic performance, typically involving audience participation” according to Google definition) is aptly titled as the ten catchy-as-hell anthems seem ready-made to be sung-along by future audiences. Their fan-provoking chants have been one of the greatest strengths since self-titled 2004 Kasabian. On the new LP, the non-lexical vocables on “aye-aye-yay” on ‘Call‘, “oh oh-oh-oh” on ‘Italian Horror‘ and more “Oh-oh-oh-ohh” on ‘Algorithms’, will help the glue between them and their devotees stay intact. The ‘ready or not’ part of single ‘Coming Back To Me Good‘ is also earwormy. A credit to Serge Pizzorno for bringing back this tradition after the tough task of taking over from the frontman reigns from troubled Tom Meighan. His first attempt at being the main man on predecessor The Alchemist’s Euphoria – a musically confused and hit-dry record – perhaps withdrew the band’s connection with fans somewhat.

But this is not to say that this album is a template of Kasabian’s past achievements, ‘Happenings’ has its own ideas within. ‘Bird In A Cage’ which seems to express Pizzorno’s train-of-thought when fearfully taking over as the king of Kasabian (“Like a bird in a cage
I’d forgotten how to sing. Now we’re turning the page on a brand new story”
) is experimental woozy psychedelia that springs to mind The Beatles’ Revolver. However, first noticeable element to the production is how Happenings on many occasions recalls Friendly Fires’ Ibiza-indie style.

In that Kasabian could perform these songs equally to a alcohol-drenched moshpit crowd in a tent, as well to an alcohol-drenched beach dwelling crowd. In particular the pace-shifter ‘Call‘ – which begins with gritty slightly tribal bellowing that makes one reminsce of idiosyncratic Kasabian track ‘Days Are Forgotten’ and yet has the beat and tropical guitars of summer dance music. Although ‘Coming Back To Me Good’ hears Serge Pizzorno sound like Thomas Mars of Phoenix, it has aquatic moments that can imagine a guy playing an acoustic guitar with his feet being stroked by undulating tide as surfers rise and fall behind him. There’s even time within its 2:49 for nostalgic UK garage in the song’s bridge. Now that is efficiency. ‘Hell Of It’ is another great example of Happenings’ two sided vibe – initially it has a setting that is murky and war-torn brought upon by its sounds of sirens, sharply pointed drums and Pizzorno’s stoic rapping – but then rising among the ashes is emotional quasi-funk euphoria.

For a band often labelled lad rock in the past, Serge Pizzorno brings vulnerability and voices of concern into the lyrics. The Arctic-Monkeys-meets-Giorgio-Moroder opener ‘Darkest Lullaby’ shows relatable heartbreak: “So glad I met ya, so sad I can’t forget you now.” The disco strings and line “And out on the dance floor, the lighting down low” on the track effectively express a joyful memory.” ‘Italian Horror’ – which is not quite as thrilling as the title suggests – is a Foals-reminiscent song that references Serge Pizzorno’s Italian heritage. Terminology dropping of “giallo”, and “Sergio Martino” bring out a refreshing geek side of the musician. ‘G.O.A.T’ takes the recently popular acronym for Greatest Of All Time for a song about encouragement and features a great guitar performance.

Although musically predictable Arcade Fire arena rock, ‘Algorithims’ is also topical, with its rebellion on artificial intelligence and how it can never replace a human’s power to embrace the moment. “Algorithms taking control. The robots believing they have a soul. They’ll never feel love.” Serge Pizzorno and Kasabian effectively use the densely-packed set of songs on Happenings seemingly tell robots and a modern world that is often bombarded with contradicting information to enjoy a clear vision.


God is in the TV is an online music and culture fanzine founded in Cardiff by the editor Bill Cummings in 2003. GIITTV Bill has developed the site with the aid of a team of sub-editors and writers from across Britain, covering a wide range of music from unsigned and independent artists to major releases.