When ex-Kasabian frontman Tom Meighan left the group in 2020 under the darkest of clouds, few would have blamed the band for calling it a day after a career that had seen them slowly graduate from Leicester lads to Glastonbury-topping rock giants.
But, as Serge Pizzorno told Rolling Stone UK earlier this year, their former bandmate’s domestic abuse conviction would have been “an awful way for it to end”. “We realised this is what we do. This is our life’s work, and every tune is ingrained in our soul and heart,” he explained.
On seventh album The Alchemist’s Euphoria, Pizzorno flies out of the traps to prove that he’s the perfect man to lead the band. “Take me to a time that we all could believe in, shut your door on the way if you’re leaving,” comes his mission statement on psych-tinged opener ‘Alchemist’. It feels like a chance for a newly cocksure Pizzorno to brazenly dismiss cynics who aren’t on board for this new chapter of Kasabian.
This line-up change seems to have strengthened the band too, as the rest of the record feels like their most sonically varied and at times best work in years. Early standout ‘Rocket Fuel’ sees the group experimenting with industrial rave, while on the pounding 2021 comeback track ‘ALYGATYR’, the foursome indulge their fondness for surreal lyrics. “Life in a simulator/Drip feed and straight to the incubator,” comes the vague observation on that moshstarting track.
It’s followed by a progtinged interlude in ‘Space’, which allows the record to breathe by introducing moments of contemplation. Elsewhere, on ‘The Wall’, Pizzorno sings, “Said a lot of things I know I will regret, but that’s the point of getting old.” Although the track tackles ageing and its inevitability, the ironic reality is that the unfortunate context they found themselves in may have given them a new lease of life. What looked like a bleak ending for one of the UK’s most popular indie rock bands has resulted in a commendable comeback for its remaining members.