Album Reviews

Kasabian – Velociraptor!

on September 27, 2011, 7:59am
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It may seem odd at first glance, but Velociraptor! is the perfect name for Kasabian’s latest album. The UK collective has always had a pack mentality that focused on taking out, or at least surviving against, larger competitors. This release should give opponents a run for their money. Whereas West Rider Pauper Lunatic Asylum polished their space-rock styles, LP number four adds the Kasabian touch to other genres in an electrifying scattershot that still feels coherent and whole.

From the opening gong, Velociraptor! immediately sets itself apart. Rather than starting with a bang, “Let’s Roll Just Like We Used To” builds into a sly, mid-tempo charmer. There’s plenty of room here for the horn blasts, shining keys, and swaying strings. “Days Are Forgotten” combines a downright dirty guitar riff with Arabic-sounding yells. The Middle Eastern influences reach their peak on the sprawling “Acid Turkish Bath (Shelter From the Storm)”. From the wordless intro chant to the cutting strings and the brutal Bonham drumbeat, it’s one of the biggest pieces in the history of a band that has no problem with ambition.

In the days of cassettes, “Acid Turkish Bath” would have been the perfect end to Side A. “I Hear Voices” changes the tone completely, washing the band in Tron­-esque electronica. “Re-wired” and “Switchblade Smiles” move in the same territory, with the latter’s grungy guitar riffs threatening to smash the dance floor to bits.

Fear not, though, Kasabian traditionalists. There’s something here for you, too. “Goodbye Kiss” and “La Fee Verte” are modern takes on McCartney and Lennon-era Beatles tunes, whereas the title track squeezes all the rock of West Rider into three explosive, ridiculous minutes. With such an eclectic display, Kasabian aren’t underdogs anymore. They’ve joined the other predators at the top of the food chain.

Essential Tracks: “Let’s Roll Just Like We Used To”, “Acid Turkish Bath (Shelter From the Storm)”, and “Switchblade Smiles”

5 comments

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Hearsz
August 26, 2012 at 3:00 am

When it was first released and I was able to listen to it a few times, I thought “Velociraptor!” was good but not as great as “West Ryder”. However, having seen them live a few months after it was released (twice), I found the album is better appreciated once hearing most of the tracks live.
As the reviewer states, they could have started with a bang by having “Days Are Forgotten” as the opener on the album, and as this is the song they currently kick their live sets off with, it really gets everyone pumping from the get-go. “La Fee Verte” is Kasabian’s “A Day In The Life”, one of the best tunes Serge has ever written. “Re-Wired” sounds as good live as it does on the album whereas the title track, although not lyrically brilliant, keeps the fast ticking momentum going early on in the set.
But it’s the thunderous “Switchblade Smiles” which is perfectly executed in between “Vlad The Impaler” and “Fire” (during the current trio of tunes in the live set encore) that was by far the highlight of a highly entertaining set. Like another reviewer wrote, it probably should have been the final curtain on the album (omitting “Neon Moon”).
“West Ryder” was littered with many hits in “Fire”, “Underdog”, “Where Did All The Love Go?” and “Fast Fuse”, it would have been easier for Serge and co. to follow up using the exact same blue print. However, they should be commended for not delivering the obvious and as time has passed, I see this release as taking some of the best parts of the three releases before it. Where they go from here with album #5 will be interesting to find out.

NickNolte
September 28, 2011 at 6:55 pm

This album is great, all you haters what say things like ‘oh their first album was good, or west ryder was good but this is rubbish’ you don’t make any sense. There are songs with huge nods to both of those sounds. Shelter from the storm would be a perfect ryder song just like Re-Wired or I hear voices would fit perfectly on Kasabian. Great album, great review. It’s nice to see some american love for these guys!

Laurieann
September 28, 2011 at 3:46 pm

Wow, I am actually really shocked that you gave this one a good review. I really like their last album, and I thought their debut was awesome, but this album is really awful. Their influences are so obvious on every song, and they manage to sound like every band but themselves. I would give it two stars tops!

Anonymous
September 27, 2011 at 6:18 pm

Agree with the guy below. This album is pretty good, but I find “Re-Wired” popping up in my head quite often…

But regardless, glad to see some American attention for them. 

Reverend Justito
September 27, 2011 at 4:37 pm

I am going to have to slightly disagree with you on this. I feel that “Goodbye Kiss” and ‘La Fee Verte” are anything but traditional Kasabian. In fact from what I hear many across the pond are debating if these are “Sell Out” tracks. I would say that “Days” “Re-Wired” and ‘Switchblade” are the more traditional tracks.

Solid review otherwise, it’s nice to see the band get some attention here in the USA>

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