The Line Of Best Fit Radio

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

"I hate you guys"

The new Kasabian album is released on August 28th.

I for one won't be buying it. It seems I'm not the only one....

Article taken from Stylus Magazine

An open letter to the uninitiated by Nick Southall.

I hate Kasabian for many reasons. Firstly, I hate the etymology of their name. Linda Kasabian is the name of Charles Manson’s getaway driver, or something. She was certainly a member of the “Manson Family”. Some might write that off as tasteless in the extreme, but tasteless has never bothered me particularly – I’m a Chris Morris fan. It’s rather the fact that this deliberate self-association with infamous murderers and the darker aspects of pop culture smacks of “keeping it real” in the most affected and unreal way possible (people DIED, that’s SO REAL); it’s not designed to shock in the sense that shock = realigning peoples perception of everyday life enabling them to better live that life. It’s about looking cool because your parents might take offence, which is never good.

I hate the way they dress with that faux rock aristocracy conceit, all scarves, choppy, highlighted feather cuts and vintage jackets from designer second-hand shops. I hate their shitty, over-considered facial hair. I hate their professional lad personas, the fact that they’re from Leicester and like football and drinking and swearing, the fact that they veil their song titles in vaguely drug-centric acronyms because, presumably, they think that doing so is cool. It’s the same with The Libertines and all the crack-chic that follows them around, the heroin-mystique; I thought thinking drugs were cool had become passé years ago.

But most of all I hate their fucking awful music. I hate their shitty beats and shouty choruses, their Beatles-aping, rockist-pleasing backwards fills, the whole fucking shitty lads-down-the-disco aesthetic. I hate the fact that they called a song “Processed Beats” when it doesn’t sound very processed and barely has a beat. I hate the fact that critics praise them by using phrases like “They’re a classic indie disco band”, as if that a; had any meaning or b; was a good thing in the slightest. I hate the fact that they were nominated for Brit Awards in the same year that the dance category was disbanded. Dizzee Rascal, Talvin Singh and Roni Size have both won the Mercury Prize in recent years. Dance music is not a scary, radical, leftfield concern anymore. It does not need watering down for the proles.

People keep saying they sound like Primal Scream, but I have never heard Primal Scream do anything as clunky and boring and lager-lout obnoxious as “LSF” or “Cut Off”. Is this the legacy of Screamadelica? Lest we forget, that album didn’t embrace dance culture by sticking a clumsy hip hop beat and some widdly effects over a three-chord indie strum+shout. Perhaps people mean latter-day Primal Scream, but I don’t know where they’d get that from. Vanishing Point is a dub record, XTRMNTR a discopunkwhitenoise leviathan which spawned The Rapture and LCD Soundsystem, Evil Heat is basically electroclash-meets-krautrock. Perhaps they mean the much maligned Give Out But Don’t Give Up, a clumsy blues-funk album. Kasabian are closer to “Rocks” or “Jailbird” than anything else Primal Scream have done.

People keep saying Kasabian sound like The Stone Roses – which songs in The Stone Roses catalogue sound ANYTHING like Kasabian’s snarling masculinity? “Fools Gold”? With its intricate groove (the 10-beat kick-drum loop on that song is more intricate and inspired than anything I’ve heard from Kasabian), its bassline cribbed from Can, it’s ten-minute lope that still sounds strange and alien today? Or maybe “Begging You”? No, it’s still a hundred times more furious and exciting than anything Kasabian could come up with, the sequencing more radical, the beats less predictable, the lyrics more intriguing.

People keep saying Kasabian sound like Happy Mondays. I saw the video for “Wrote For Luck” for the first time in ages the other day. Kasabian sound nothing like that. New Order. !!!. Lo Fidelity Allstars. Daft Punk. Prodigy. LCD Soundsystem. Basment Jaxx. Even Black Grape, for heaven’s sake. All have mixed dance beats and textures and aesthetics with rock structures and sounds. Kasabian sound nothing like them. They’re derivative but not of an idea or a sound; they’re derivative of a poor description of an idea or a sound. “Indie music with dance beats.” Good fucking god it was tired fourteen years ago and it’s tired now. After 20 years of rhythmic evolution and invention in dance music, after house, drum n bass, UK garage, Asian underground, trance, dubstep and countless others, to hear someone do the same “funky drummer” fill that the fucking Mock Turtles used in 1991, and for people to praise that and think it’s something new or clever, is depressing and backwards. I cannot fathom people who would choose to listen to a bad, misremembered refraction of dance music, especially when those same people are generally also the types most likely dismiss actual dance music itself out of hand.

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