Kasabian's 'The Alchemist’s Euphoria' review: a fresh new start for the British rockers

The seventh album finds guitarist Serge Pizzorno becoming the group's new frontman

Sergio Pizzorno takes centre stage as Kasabian perform at Cardiff University last year. Redferns
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Changing a charismatic lead singer in a popular rock band is a fraught decision.

But it was one reportedly forced upon Kasabian, who parted ways with frontman Tom Meighan after his 2020 conviction for spousal abuse.

While the reasoning behind the axeing was sound, it did raise questions about how the British rockers would regroup.

'The Alchemist's Euphoria'

Artist: Kasabian
Label: Columbia
Rating: 3/5

Since they formed in 1997, the magic of Kasabian’s sound has been the precarious balance of brawn and brain.

The former was heavily influenced by Meighan, whose laddish persona was responsible for stomping hits Shoot the Runner and Club Foot. It was guitarist, and sometimes vocalist Serge Pizzorno’s more esoteric leaning that balanced the group’s machismo, particular in the brooding track Fire and the danceable You're in Love with a Psycho.

With Meighan out of the picture, Kasabian’s new album The Alchemist’s Euphoria finds Pizzorno taking full creative control and becoming the group’s sole vocalist.

The end result marks a new chapter for the group, for better or worse.

Fans of Meighan's swaggering sounds will be slightly disappointed as the new record is a mellower offering. That said, the album has a few adrenalin-pumping moments.

Scriptvre has the feel of The Chemical Brothers meets Run DMC, with Pizzorno’s boisterous rapping — “get the vile, get the blood, give me aggro” — backed by thunderous percussion.

The barrelling Chemicals is destined to be a live favourite.

Laced with tightly syncopated beats and strident riffs, it is the kind of sprightly tune that The Strokes brought to fame at the turn of the century.

Genre bending abounds in The Alchemist's Euphoria. Case in point, T.U.E (the ultraview effect), which begins as a plaintive ballad before taking on a more abstract shape with waves of discordant synths and clattering beats.

Stargazr is even more out there with its programmed synths and Pizzorno's slightly distorted vocals inspired by an astronaut’s perspective of the world below.

That emphasis on atmospherics bogs down the album at certain points.

The two instrumental tracks Space and Sea are totally unnecessary, while The Wall could have sorely used the venom Meighan specialised in.

Considering the tumultuous context of its creation, though, The Alchemist's Euphoria is a solid piece of work.

It may not be what the fan base wanted, but what the band needed to keep them going.

Updated: August 19, 2022, 6:02 PM
'The Alchemist's Euphoria'

Artist: Kasabian
Label: Columbia
Rating: 3/5

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