Kasabian is nothing new

Jon Dieringer

Credit: Beth Rankin

Being highly derivative isn’t necessarily a bad thing.

Franz Ferdinand wrenched out the single of 2004 by twisting the Talking Heads with Gang of Four, and The Futureheads made an outstanding album that was essentially just The Jam moved another step away from The Who.

But is it already time to be ripping off the British cult bands of the early ’90s?

Kasabian is a Leicester band that channels Madchester by way of Madlibs, starting with the bouncy dance-rock template of The Complete Stone Roses, Primal Scream and Happy Mondays then filling in the blanks with half-baked revolutionary lyrics and Eno-esque electronics.

Singer Tom Meighan is a vocal dead ringer for the Mondays’ Shaun Ryder both in tone and delivery, but listening to him rap “I break bones stealing mobile phones” on “Processed Beats,” one has to wonder whether it’s a rip-off or reference, conscious or not, to the Mondays’ “Me and all the rich got mobile phones, bones.”

The menacing, super-fuzzed bass of “Club Foot” drives a fun if somewhat hollow single that kicks off the album, but it only loses substance and steam as it goes on.

Those able to tolerate Hot Hot Heat as an anecdote for overplayed XTC records might appreciate Kasabian as a pinch hitter for Pills ‘n’ Thrills and Bellyaches and Primal Scream’s XTRMNTR, but imitation only flatters a handful of an audience.

Kasabian’s pills and bellyaches are real, but the thrills are over a decade old.

Contact Pop Arts reporter Jon Dieringer at [email protected].