Friday, June 6, 2014

Kasabian- 48 13

ok, you can give me crap for liking a band that's going to headline Glastonbury. I understand it. But, here's the thing- yes, Radiohead, Explosions in the Sky, Mogwai, etc, etc ad nauseum are pushing guitar music forward, but who's pushing Rock music forward? Apart from fairly underground noise, metal and crust bands, there's no one on the national scene who's trying to push rock music forward. Whether you're talking Jack White or the Black Keys, Queens of the Stone Age or Kings of Leon, there's plenty of rock music out there, and most of it is looking backwards. I don't mind, as I enjoy certain things that are retro, and some sounds haven't been explored enough, but I honestly think there are only a handful of acts that can play stadiums that are genuinely trying to make rock music, and trying to make that rock music go in a direction it hasn't gone before. On the European continent, you've got dEUS, and Kashmir, and Ghinzu. But in the UK, I think Kasabian are really it, the only ones. By combining their Oasis-style Brit Rock with Kraftwork, and Tangerine Dream, and electronics from Italian horror movies, then harnessing a Hip Hop sense of percussion, it genuinely sounds new and different, but with a definite "rock sensibility". It doesn't sound like disco, and it doesn't sound like post-rock, it sounds like the same kind of music that put Britain on the map, from the Beatles to Blur. I think the thing that keeps them off of critics' lists is simple- lyrically, they're thick as bricks. I don't know when it got conflated, but I've got a good guess that it's a Baby Boom thing, that music critics expect musicians to be articulate and literate. Certainly, some are, but I never thought of musical talent as necessarily translating into verbal talent. Actually, from most of the musicians I know, I think it might be antithetical. Seriously, if Tom Morello really had the words for what he wants, would he play a guitar? If Mark Lanegan  could write as well as he sings, why would he sing? He'd be better off writing scripts. No, the best musicians are musicians because their best talents are musical. That doesn't mean that I don't appreciate thoughtful, witty, and insightful lyrics, only that I don't think it's necessary for the music to be good.But, you see, most music critics are basically English majors. They're writers, first, and music lovers second. Well, I make no bones about it- I'm no writer. I bet there are a dozen grammatical errors, and a score of spelling errors in this paragraph alone, and I bet that my structure is laughable. I'm clearly a music lover much more than an appreciator of poetry. So, yes, Kasabian write some pretty dumb lyrics, and not even ironically dumb like the Ramones or something. That doesn't matter. What matters is that they write anthemic, syncopated rock music that people can dance along happily while listening to it. For Rock music that really is the final word. Tracks like "Stevie", "Eez-eh", "Doomsday" "Bow" and "Bumblebee" are great rock songs, but they're off kilter and psychedelic with synth lines cribbed from a Dario Argente movie and beats that don't quite add up. It's like the Happy Mondays got infiltrated by Suicide and Eric B. Which is to say, it's definitely new, and different. I think that's genius enough.

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