Kasabian Empire

Thanks to anthemic choruses and a big beat-heavy sound that nearly outshined their arena-sized egos, Leicester’s Kasabian became one of Britain’s biggest rock bands on both sides of the pond when their beefy debut dropped in 2004. Clearly influenced by rock/electronic hybrid acts like the Chemical Brothers and Primal Scream, and the indulgent rock of T-Rex and Oasis, Kasabian work in a capacity that muscles their music into your senses. Confidence is nothing they’re short of, and Empire is the sound of a young band having a go at making "the” album of their career. They deemed it an instant classic (much like their debut), and while those kinds of statements are always good fun to laugh at, their arrogance is on to something here. From the opening indecipherable voice mail, Empire wastes no time in setting the mood for an immense wall of thumping beats, strapping gang choruses and bursts of futuristic noise. As "Shoot the Runner” demonstrates, these guys clearly like their booze; Bolan-esque riffs breathe life into a big, whooping party anthem that will certainly cause trouble somewhere. Perhaps the most impressive element of Kasabian is how they can tone it down with a striking softy like "British Legion.” Less militant than Xtrmntr, and somehow as hedonistic as Screamadelica, Empire has Primal Scream’s number, especially on the plagiaristic "Sun/Rise/Light/Flies” ("Autobahn 66” anyone?). With a little more work Kasabian may just record the classic that everyone can agree with them on. (RCA)