Single Review: Kasabian – ‘Goodbye Kiss’

“It showcases Kasabian after being sledgehammered back to sobriety after three albums’ worth of heavy-drinking, fast cars and pub fights”

5 STARS

Digital Release: February 20, 2012

Physical Release: February 20, 2012

Blasting their way onto the music scene just in time to catch a ride on the indie rock bandwagon that ferried acts like The Killers and Franz Ferdinand to their 2004 fame summits, Kasabian stormed down the door to which guitars and drum kits made their way back into the mainstream. But, sniggering at The Killers’ electrified glam-rock experimentation and mocking Franz Ferdinand’s effortlessly suave funkiness, Kasabian used their masculine bravado and finely-tuned awareness of British lad culture to completely re-write what was, at first, a time when guitars and chart music aligned themselves, which soon spiralled into a challenge of last band standing in a drunken pub brawl, buoyed by all things quintessential of the British lad – football, illicit drugs, lager – and Kasabian played by their own rules. It soon became obvious, and has since been reinforced throughout their career, that Kasabian can take whatever sounds they want; do whatever they want, and still make it sound utterly convincing – but that didn’t make wanting to sound like foulmouthed idiots with guitars any more impressive.

But despite not having the mainstream appeal of flamboyant rock anthems like ‘Mr. Brightside’ or the delirious catchiness of songs like ‘Do You Want To?’, high on it’s own smugness, Kasabian didn’t fare too badly. Sure, there were a few lost teeth and badly misshapen jaws by the end of it – persistent reminders that the hedonism underlining many of Kasabian’s songs (the jagged, angst-driven rumblings of ‘Club Foot’ – the soundtrack all young men want to punch faces to) has fuelled their entire catalogue. Even on their new single, a ballad that shows a maturity after Tom Meighan’s awkward 2009 confession where he wished to tone down the band’s penchant for insulting whomsoever an interviewer might ask an opinion on, there are hints at the same loutish fervency on ‘Goodbye Kiss’. Lyrically, it reflects retrospectively on past wrongs in a relationship and condemns how “rock and roll sent us insane”, before pleading for the people they once knew as themselves to resolve their insanity.

It’s a huge contrast to the sneering bluntness of their earlier material and only a fool could say it doesn’t do what Kasabian want it to, which again highlights their adaptability; they just needed pointing in the right direction. But even when listening to it, you get the feeling Meighan is showing a reluctance in singing a ballad that manifests itself in a sense of paranoia, almost like it was sung knowing it would be promoted as a single, which results in a very carefully controlled sound to his voice towards the end of the choral phrases. But when typical Kasabian thunder is calmed to a sedate, piano-assisted assembly it doesn’t matter, as Meighan’s voice blends seamlessly. His trademark snarl is still as distinct as ever, but there’s a rich melancholy to it that hasn’t been heard before on many Kasabian songs.

‘Goodbye Kiss’ isn’t going to be commercially successful, so it’s not going to change the perception of the band amongst those still licking their wounds now six years after the band’s raucous début, and it’s certainly not stealing any weeping ballad titles from Coldplay, Snow Patrol or the like, but instead it’s content as an excellently-written and produced song that showcases the Kasabian gang being sledgehammered back to sobriety after three albums’ worth of heavy-drinking, fast cars and pub fights.

 

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