Kasabian return in style

IT'S an entertaining prospect, interviewing Kasabian.

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Kasabian's Serge Pizzorno, left, and Tom Meighan
Kasabian's Serge Pizzorno, left, and Tom Meighan

Simply put, Tom Meighan and Serge Pizzorno - the band's respective singer and guitarist - come out with all sorts of nonsense.

Preposterous, often hilarious, sometimes brilliant, but nonsense nonetheless.

"I am a cartoon, big blue eyes and big round nose. I'm the Tasmanian devil. I'm the Mickey Mouse of the band, ain't I? And Serge is Walt Disney, he drew me," said Meighan in a 2011 interview with NME.

A few years previously, Pizzorno both compared himself to Muhammad Ali ("Although Muhammad Ali would go into the ring and abuse his opponents, you could still see the love in his eyes for his opponents. We are the same") and said the band's gigs were more like galaxies than concerts. "It's another planet, that's how big it is."

If you were to be cruel, you might say the description of their interview soundbites could be applied to their music, too.

They've just released their fifth album, 48:13, so called because that's its total running time.

The album has proved a big hit, earning the No1 spot after selling 70,000 copies in seven days.

It's perhaps the most Kasabian-sounding album yet; a madcap mix of beats borrowed from hip hop, eclectic, contemporary sounds of electronica and classic 60s psychedelia.

There's a long tradition that when bands describe their own music, they're as wide of the mark as it's possible to be, searching for sensationalism and credibility, rather than accuracy. For example, why admit you sound like James Morrison, when you can lie and tell people your music was inspired by Neil Young?

Kasabian, however, for all their seemingly incoherent descriptions, have been surprisingly close to hitting the nail on the head.

Last summer Pizzorno said the early stages of what would become 48:13 sounded like "future psychedelia with a mosh pit edge". Almost a year later, the album is out - and you can hear where he was coming from.

Take the opening track Bumblebee, for example, a song, says Pizzorno, almost reverse engineered to "create a mosh pit you can see from outer space".

"To be honest, it feels like I've been training 10 years to make this album," he says.

The band formed in 1997 in Leicester and were initially called Saracuse, until they changed their name in 2002, inspired by Linda Kasabian, a member of the infamous Charles Manson 'Family' cult.

Their self-titled debut was released two years later in 2004, and ever since, they've generally been regarded as one of Britain's biggest bands. They might just become Britain's very biggest later this month when they headline Glastonbury Festival on Sunday night.

Kasabian have played the Somerset festival a handful of times over the years, but said after their last performance there in 2009, that they wouldn't return, unless they were topping the bill themselves.

"And we were right to say that," says Pizzorno. "God bless Michael and Emily Eavis [the father and daughter organisers], putting a British band up there. It's a good tradition, but it's not easy for British rock bands at the moment - there are only a handful left and there are none coming through."

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