Madchester Redux 

Kasabian’s Dilutions of Grandeur

Kasabian
Wed Feb 9
Crystal Ballroom
1332 W Burnside

What's all this shit about British restraint? Ever read the UK music press? It's about as restrained as a gaggle of 13-year-old girls at a Justin Timberlake in-store. By UK music press, I mainly mean the NME, a London-based rag that serves as the music industry's tasteless tastemaker and hyper hypemonger. Viruses spawned in NME editorial meetings spread worldwide, occasionally affecting the names U.S. A&R reps tap into their Palm Pilots.

To be fair, the tabloid does champion a winner about one out of every eight times--and as recipients of NME editorial largesse go, Kasabian--four lads from Leicester, England, which is roughly the Brit equivalent of St. Louis--ain't half bad.

Naming their group after Charles Manson's pregnant getaway driver, Kasabian have that Stone Roses/Primal Scream/Verve/Oasis mojo going. All of those self-proclaimed saviors possessed the astonishing hubris to think that their bands were the best on the planet right then, that there was nobody doin' nuffink interesting musically except them, that they were going to save Britain from a sea of tedious rock bands, that they were the only true way, ad absurdum. Messianic bollocks, basically. But it makes for good copy. (Headline for Kasabian's NME cover story: "We're the Best Band in Britain.")

Kasabian are at the most exciting stage of this typical buzz-band trajectory: They're embarking on their first North American tour, their self-titled debut album (certified platinum in England) is streeting here March 8, and dreams of hot Yank chicks dance in their booze-soaked minds. If they can sail through customs, Kasabian could make a serious impression on the American public, and on this nation's hotel beds.

The music? Oh, yeah. Kasabian's lineage is noble and easily trainspotted: Happy Mondays, Stone Roses, Primal Scream, the Verve, Oasis, Neu! (filtered through Stereolab), the Chemical Brothers. To a historical youth, Kasabian must sound dazzlingly fresh; to vets of Anglophiliac music appreciating, Kasabian are pleasant rehabilitators of styles that are ripe for revisiting--this time with scruffier beards.

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