Sporting perhaps the least imaginative album title and cover ever, Kasabian’s fifth album serves up more of the electro-infused arena rock they’ve become known for. It’s a formula that’s showing signs of getting tired here, but a handful of tracks are as catchy as anything they’ve done this decade.
‘Bumblebee’ is the kind of upbeat, chant-along rocker destined for prime airing in their festival setlist, while ‘Stevie’ is the highlight of the album, a brooding force that manages to get away with a chorus (“All the kids say, / ‘Live to fight another day’”) destined for use in a Hollywood blockbuster. Penultimate track ‘Bow’ is another stadium-filling anthem that plays to the band’s strengths, but outside of these three 48:13 is largely uninspiring.
Lyrically, the album is dominated by the sort of vague arena rock platitudes about inequality and the wrongs of the world today that suggest a half-hearted aim to be a ‘serious band’. The worst offenders here are ‘Eez-eh’ and ‘Glass’, which closes with a lengthy and incongruous call to arms from spoken-word artist Suli Breaks.
On 48:13, Kasabian have bolstered their live setlist with a few genuinely good singles, but most of the rest of the album will quickly be forgotten.