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Kasabian – Algorithms

“Robots can’t experience emotion and being in the moment, whereas humans can, and that is the beauty that separates us.” – Serge Pizzorno, Kasabian, robotics engineer.

Not just a band Mark Corrigan cannot remember the name of but a band still making music. When a band cites both Oasis and Coldplay as their influences, a plain toast concoction which would make the wheat-intolerant weep, it is always a dangerous time to dive into the deep end of their new sound. Luckily their new song Algorithms was not coughed up by Apple Music intervening on an LCD Soundsystem binge. It is an active choice to listen to a track which sees itself as tongue in cheek and taking on the big streaming behemoths but is playing right into their hand with noise which sounds closer to procedural generation than heartfelt and trusting.  

From its first bars, which rip generic Tinder biographies of wanting a “good time, not a long time,” Kasabian settle into an utterly contemptible style which takes mid-tempo music to its extreme. Their influences can be heard in the makeshift Stone Island trio of acoustic guitar, empty lyrics and “oh, oh, oh” chanting. Stadium-ready fodder. Pining for the weirdos to heroes audience with algorithmic lyrics of empty and shoddy form, Algorithms goes through the motions of upbeat British pop into tender, piano-clad pain which takes on the role of reflective of the everyday. Painful to listen to because of how little is in there, under the bonnet runs a hamster on a wheel rather than the mighty engine Kasabian believe they are in possession of. Impossible to take it seriously when its opening and closing bars are quotes stripped directly from the wall of a young “live, laugh, love” order-following couple. 

That is the least of Kasabian’s worries for Algorithms though. Their latest track certainly feels like a procedure. Lobotomy? Hip replacement? Punch the numbers, pair the words to their counterpoint and there you have it, a structure which enlists simple rhymes and chord changes to benefit the algorithm. Music made for computer processing. Shifty and clueless lyrics of being stuck like glue, of holding back a flood hitting a lover, it all settles in with the same autogenerated broadness which comes from the uninspired. Remember the days this, never let you down that. You’ve heard it before. It’s nothing special, but it’s a living for Kasabian who make this music over and over. Just here it feels heartless even by their standard. Pizzorno commenting on the emotional emptiness of robots is a tad ironic when his track has the cold, metal shell expected of Kasabian. 

Uplifting standards drop significantly as people find themselves moved by the empty, recyclable materials found on this Kasabian single. Where in here do people see themselves? It is too broad to include the masses, even they must want particulars. Being labelled weirdos who are chancing it with a heroic turn does not match up with the crowd Kasabian truly has. Eating plain toast is a good way to steady your stomach after a bout of food poisoning but after a while, it does get repetitive. Deep down there must be some meaning, buried below the dreck of indifference and offensively unspecific love song found throughout Algorithms. Make no mistake, this is a song tailor-made to the safest of modern indie playlists. It’ll slot in nicely next to your Reytons and Sleaford Mods singles. Elderly blokes playing dress-up with a past they were late enough to miss out on but early enough to be influenced by. A music culture ripe for nostalgia pillaging, without the hearts and minds to succeed with much more than caricature prodding and dribbling, empty messages.  

Ewan Gleadow
Ewan Gleadow
Editor in Chief at Cult Following | News and culture journalist at Clapper, Daily Star, NewcastleWorld, Daily Mirror | Podcast host of (Don't) Listen to This | Disaster magnet

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