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Kasabian took the British press by storm in the early 2000s by mixing traces of the Stone Roses, Happy Mondays, and Primal Scream with Oasis-sized confidence and DJ Shadow-influenced electronics. Named after Linda Kasabian, Charles Manson's getaway driver-turned-state witness, the Leicester-based group also took a page from the Band by moving into a remote farmhouse to brew its music. Communal life and a slew of shared influences produced an electronic, rock-oriented sound that harked back to the Madchester days of baggy pants and druggy dancing. Releasing their eponymous debut in 2004, Kasabian expanded that sound on later albums, but the band's foundation remained rooted in fragmented dance textures and boisterous rock & roll. The approach was well-received; the group went to the top of the U.K. album chart for the first time with 2006's Empire, and their sixth album, For Crying Out Loud, became their fifth straight number one when it arrived in 2017.
With his acerbic approach to interviews, lead singer Tom Meighan won the attention of the press during the band's infancy, and Kasabian's revolutionary logos and sleeve art only added to the interest. Foldout poster sleeves, 10" versions, and hand-stenciled covers accompanied singles like "Club Foot," "L.S.F," and "Processed Beats." The hype paid off as Kasabian's self-titled debut cracked the Top Five in October 2004, just one month after its U.K. release. Four singles landed in the Top 20 within six months, establishing the bandmates -- Meighan, guitarists Sergio Pizzorno and Chris Karloff, bass player Chris Edwards, and drummer Ian Matthews -- as rock & roll royalty in the process.
Karloff left the lineup two years later, citing creative differences with the remaining members. Kasabian's second album, Empire, had already been recorded, and guitarist Jay Mehler was brought in to replace Karloff for live performances. Empire was released in August 2006 and debuted atop the U.K. charts, with the title track soon becoming the band's third Top Ten hit. They took home an NME Award in 2007 and began work on another album later that year. Dan the Automator was brought in to share production duties with Pizzorno, and Mehler was made an official member before the resulting U.K. chart-topper West Ryder Pauper Lunatic Asylum appeared in 2009. It included the band's only Top Three single, "Fire." Automator would return for the 2011 album Velociraptor!, which became Kasabian's third straight U.K. number one. Its highest-charting song was "Days Are Forgotten," which cracked the Top 30.
In 2013, Mehler left the group and joined former Oasis frontman Liam Gallagher in his group Beady Eye, but Kasabian carried on as a four-piece, recording an album with Pizzorno alone in the producer's chair. Named after its total running time, 48:13 arrived in 2014 and offered up another Top-30 single, "Eez-eh." The group re-emerged in early 2017 with tracks including "You're in Love with a Psycho" in anticipation of their sixth studio long-player, For Crying Out Loud. It saw release later that May. While none of its songs reached the Top 40, For Crying Out Loud became Kasabian's fifth consecutive number one album.
On July 6, 2020, Tom Meighan announced that he was leaving the band to deal with "personal issues." The next day, news broke that the singer had pleaded guilty to assault charges stemming from a domestic violence incident that April. ~ David Jeffries
- Leicester, England
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