Triumphantly emerging in 2004 as potential heirs to Oasis‘ football terrace rock band populism, Kasabian went from strength to strength in their early years as they meshed buzzy electronica, hip-hop breakbeats, and muscular guitar riffs into a recipe for huge success. Leading to their apex – the creative and propulsive 2009’s West Ryder Pauper Lunatic Asylum and its pseudo-sequel Velociraptor in 2011 – Kasabian arguably hit a road-bump with 2014’s 48:13. While a noble attempt to make a left-turn and re-embrace their experimental dance roots (and in rejection of their recent ever-increasing embrace of alternative rock), the album often came off a bit lukewarm, mired in some self-indulgent noodling like ‘eez-eh,’ a lead single of awkwardly goofy electropop matched with slightly trite lyricism (“The wrong men with the power / It’s turning my milk sour”). As a consequence, it is curious to see where the band will head on April’s For Crying Out Loud, and ‘You’re In Love With A Psycho’ reveals little.
The track starts very well, opening with a Krautrock-like surge forward that soon anchors into Kasabian’s familiar territory of live hip-hop beats (from drummer Ian Matthews), songwriter/guitarist/co-frontman Serge Pizzorno’s chugging guitar chords, and Chris Edwards’ throbbing bassline. Tom Meighan also introduces with a comfortably strong vocal performance that weaves well with Pizzorno’s backing vocals, delivering a melody that is pleasantly comfortable and unveils several odd if amusing phrases (“I’m like the taste of macaroni on a seafood stick”) that recall Pizzorno’s own fondness for bizarre, Noel Gallagher-esque lyrical similes. However, as the chorus hits, the song remains in the same gear, strolling along pleasantly as Meighan croons the title and Pizzorno adds some soaring falsettos and a lovely, mechanistic lead guitar lick into the mix.
While this is amiable and still an enjoyable listen, the song still never really goes anywhere. Through the bridge adding crunchy, strafing guitars, Pizzorno snarls, and a further instrumental break that mixes in echoing, twinkling synths, the song remains in the same tempo, never really breaking out of the groove it establishes in the first few bars. This is not necessarily a bad thing – and the groove itself is certainly enjoyable – but it does leave the song feeling a bit one-note and not particularly exciting, especially from a band so anchored in dynamics.
All in all, ‘You’re In Love With A Psycho’ is an enjoyable listen that does seem to suggest – tentatively, perhaps – that Kasabian might be back in more comfortable territory, or at least a world anchored in guitars, live drums, and spacey synths. But, while the song would probably be nice mid-way through an album, it seems a truly odd choice for to lead off for a band that has practically specialised in uproarious, buoyant, and wonderfully confrontational opening singles – ‘Club Foot,’ ‘Empire,’ ‘Fire,’ ‘Days Are Forgotten,’ and even ‘eez-eh.’ In this company, a nice and pleasant song that sticks with one furrow – never managing to excite beyond it – does raise questions as to what Kasabian’s new album will sound like. Then again, maybe that was the plan after all?
‘You’re In Love With A Psycho’ is out now via Columbia
While an enjoyable new guitar groove from Leicester's dance-rock purveyors, the song never truly takes flight and remains an interesting choice for a lead single.