Kasabian - Empire

Alex Worsnip 31/07/2006

Rating: 2/5

My first contact with Kasabian was seeing them supporting the Cooper Temple Clause in London, and what first struck me about them was their awesomely loud and powerful groove. A few months later, they had gone from promising newcomers to NME-hyped superstars failing to deliver, with most members of the outside world pronouncing them as distinctly rubbish. Still, their album produced the odd immense moment (the electro-rock monster 'ID', for example). New single 'Empire' is a change in direction for sure, and an odd one at that. A swirling, Eastern (perhaps Russian) synth line, combining with a stomping, military rhythm, evokes a sort of warlike feel, and the sound is far less fluid and groove-based, more jerky and insistent, with a grimy, primal drum-bass combo. 'We're all wasting away', slurs Tom Meighan in semi-apocalyptic fashion. In all honestly, whether you liked their original sound or not, there's a sense that this track doesn't play to their strengths, high on drama and ideas but low on tune, sounding at its worst like a sort of incoherent stomp/rant punctuated by some ridiculous effects to try to inject some life into what is really a rather dull track.