On his surprising debut solo album, Kasabian’s Serge Lorenzo Pizzorno becomes The S.L.P., an artist interested in the exciting: dramatic strings, late-night dancing, and brilliant new talent. Across cinematic instrumentals and pulsing clubland bangers, Pizzorno proves he’s more than a guitar in a festival field.
Album opener ‘Meanwhile In Genova’ could be straight out of 2015’s The Man From U.N.C.L.E. remake. With its rolling drumbeat and soaring strings, Pizzorno puts his lifelong band out of mind at once, replacing it with a cinematic precedent and evoking car chases by international men of mystery.
You might also like...
Bookended by two ‘Meanwhile in…’ tracks, The S.L.P. lets us into the simultaneous life that Serge Pizzorno has been leading in his Leicester studio The Sergery: opened and closed by instrumental tracks that take us into a world of dangerous excitement and alter egos.
The slow funk of a bass guitar on the sensual ‘Lockdown’ continues the thrilling danger of the opener, and wouldn’t sound out of place as the theme for the new Bond ‘No Time To Die.’
Single ‘((trance))’ does what Blossoms aim for and so often miss: it's a thrilling electronic-pop bop that oozes with louche cool. A keys-led slow-burner, ‘((trance))’ rises to meet a layered, euphoric trance apogee in a move that wouldn’t raise eyebrows at the club.
The collaborations on The S.L.P. are proof that this artist is a man with his finger on the pulse; a man with all the collaborators he could hope for. Both slowthai and Little Simz feature on Pizzorno’s project, and both have since been nominated for Mercury Awards for their own albums.
The faintly military ‘Welcome Break’ with its melancholy brass and marching drums benefits from the longing cry of an uncharacteristically measured slowthai, those ever-present orchestral filmic strings coming in at degrees. ‘Favourites’, meanwhile, is Little Simz’s turn to add her input, with pulses of her vibrant soul/hip hop influences coming through on more than the verses she sings on.
Singles ‘The Youngest Gary’ and ‘Nobody Else’ are a disorienting funk track and keys-led house tune respectively, their streaming numbers proving where Pizzorno’s talents better lie: ‘Nobody Else’ has had six times as many listens as the former.
Some songs land further from the mark: ‘Soldiers 00018’ is a clunkier addition while ‘The Wu’ borders on overworked, though neither are ones you should skip. The S.L.P. offers so many ideas for your consideration, it would be a shame to miss any.
Having worked from many demos found on his hard drive, The S.L.P. is an album of disparate ideas and sounds. Still, many of it pulls together into one cogent work: The S.L.P. is an exciting alter ego interested in having fun, and it seems that he has plenty. Most importantly, the listener is invited to indulge.
Perhaps Kasabian fans will be disappointed to find little in the way of guitar on ‘The S.L.P.’, but if they’re really listening, they shouldn’t be. This debut is an exciting step outside the box for one of UK rock’s favourite names, and the freedom it represents will surely also transform on the new Kasabian album, teased for release in 2020.
The S.L.P. is released on 30 August 2019 via Columbia Records.