As Kasabian look ahead to their sixth album – it’ll sound, er, “like a new born baby”, according to Tom Meighan – we pulled together a career-spanning selection of their best songs.
If we’re holding Kasabian up to the standards of the greats – and we absolutely should – we might as well admit ’48:13’ didn’t quite get the job done. That didn’t stop it being a proper laugh, mind, and this highlight makes its case in style. It’s all about that chorus, which sounds like the Beatles’ ‘Helter Skelter’ being bellowed out by imperial warriors.
9 Shoot the Runner
Anyone who’s seen ‘Shoot the Runner’ make a festival crowd look like boozy buffoons at a trampoline party knows what it’s about – military drums, chant-along verses and a no-bullshit chorus that sounds like aliens landing. It could’ve been a classic, if they hadn’t indulged bizarrely aggressive fantasies about dominating women; “Get your knees on the floor/ Absinthe makes you my whore”, goes one line. Wouldn’t have caught Oasis using that language, lads.
8 Switchblade Smiles
The best bits of latter-day Kasabian have been their most absurdly and meandering experiments that pack just enough pop punch to keep them on the straight and narrow. ‘Switchblade Smiles’ is a fine example, pumped with so many breath-snatching beats and bass-heavy drops it’s practically EDM.
After ‘Reason is Treason’, their low-key debut single proper, Kasabian stomped into the radio playlists with ‘Club Foot’. But with that momentum behind them, it was ‘L.S.F.’ (aka Lost Souls Forever) that announced their name to the world in gleaming, 100-feet-high letters. With effervescent disco-rock vibes and an undeniable chorus, it’s quintessential Kasabian.
It’s hard to imagine now, but after their self-titled debut whipped up a storm among long-haired folk, no one really knew where Kasabian would go. ‘Empire’, the title track of their second record, allayed any fears they’d slide off the radar, taking their knack for a colossal, adrenaline-pumped chorus and matching it to half-rapped verses so catchy even your parents were humming them.
5 Where Did All the Love Go?
The second ‘West Ryder Pauper Lunatic Asylum’ single plunged into a softer vein than predecessor ‘Fire’, but its strum-adelic, Lennon-esque vibes still hit the spot. Coming on like an anti-‘My Generation’, the track gives up trying to cause a big sensation and instead asks “whatever happened to the youth of this generation?”
4 Club Foot
Kasabian’s first hit single, ‘Club Foot’ roared up like a sandstorm and billowed its way into indie legend. Still a staple of live sets, the song stampedes forth like a sonic juggernaut while Tom barks about a “dirty trick” with such menacing conviction nobody dared ask what he was on about.
3 Processed Beats
Less lauded than other early singles, ‘Processed Beats’ is a hidden gem among the explosive debut record’s rubble. Mixing sparse hip-hop vibes with eerie samples – faintly reminiscent of Gorillaz’ debut a few years earlier – the song hinges on Tom, who plays a blinder, rap-singing verses like a street-prowling poet idiot savant.
2 U Boat
It’s unclear what happens to Kasabian between raucous opener ‘Club Foot’ and this shadowy, synth-swarmed closer, but it can’t have been pretty. Sounding hoarse, haunted and heartbroken, Serge Pizzorno takes up vocal duties to deliver Kasabian’s most off-brand – and alarmingly beautiful – song yet.
After the departure of lead songwriter Chris Karloff, ‘West Ryder Pauper Lunatic Asylum’ was the first album to be fully written by the other members. ‘Fire’ could scarcely have made a bigger impression, so dazzlingly spectacular it sounds like the world’s biggest Guy Fawkes fare accidentally letting off all their fireworks at once.