Album Review: Kasabian – Velociraptor!
I love Kasabian, but what about this, Velociraptor!, their 4th album? Am I loving it or am I not 100% sure still? I wish you could tell me because as I write I still can’t decide one way or another. Perhaps you could tell me at the end of the review! There are times when I listen to it and think “yeah, you know this is decent”. Then other times when I think, “where’s the rock n roll gone?” From the first track, when it mentions “waiting for the mayhem to start”, that’s exactly what I’m waiting for. I love Kasabian for their arrogant swagger, their fat beats and anthemic choruses, and in places Velociraptor! delivers on all counts, in other places, they make me want to dig out a lighter and sway it in the air, sooo wrong.
It was all looking and sounding so promising from their first release from the album. Switchblade Smiles has it all; a bit of arrogance laced in a slow slurring feel of threat, the big meaty beats, the trashing bass and guitar and the band’s almost signature “ooo”. The arrogance comes from the shouty vocal style. It’s thick in texture, and the only part I’m not so sure on is the (almost girly) yelping Serge does. But it’s big, it gets broken down, built back up and has that real Kasabian feel about it. So what happened with their lead single Days Are Forgotten? I know they want you to think of dinosaurs or something, but are we supposed to want to think of Tarzan? Yet again we can only blame Serge for this. I want something a little harder from this track, it falls down somehow with an almost wishy washy chorus, and not quite enough edge or punch to the vocal that Tom delivers. I can imagine that the majority of this album will be much better presented live (please note Kasabian I saw you miming on the tellybox this weekend and I was not best impressed because I know how amazing you are live!). The fact that the single has an edit is a very good thing, why they bothered to make such a long version of the song for the album edit is anyone’s guess, it simply isn’t good enough to warrant it. For one, there isn’t enough content, it’s so repetative.
Man Of Simple Pleasures sounds much more like Arctic Monkeys of recent times than Kasabian, but then why not. The problem is, and I’m finding many problems on this album, despite when not thinking about it, quite enjoying it, is that it feels wet. I feel like I want to pin this specifically on the production of the track, bring the vocals up, the bass up, give it some kind of definition, somewhere, please! Thankfully it is followed by Switchblade Smiles so I quickly forget. You might be forgiven for thinking that I probably wouldn’t like La Fee Verte, considering everything I’ve said about some of the other slower songs, but no, I’m just as confused as you might be when I say I love it. I’ll tell exactly why I love it, and that is because it’s not trying to hide behind anything, it has a clear and clean style and immediately references the very band it sounds like (The Beatles). Just when you think the track might take a turn toward possibly being drudgery it picks up, a blast of brass, picked up by a faster drum beat. I know. I know! It’s nothing like the points I said earlier that I love so much about Kasabian, but really, these guys are giving Noel Gallagher a run for his money with this one.
If I’m talking again of pure sounding Kasabian, I’m delighted to hear a somewhat new twist on this sound on I Hear Voices. I totally adore the 80s synth in this, the lyrics are great, the chorus is catchy without being too poppy. This track could have gone either way but somehow Tom’s vocal is nailed and the swagger and thrust is here. This could have some amazing remixes, it has such huge potential to be made into some huge club anthem. Let me at it! So I’ve gone from finding all kinds of problem areas to finding some great ones, or ones with great promise. It’s a good thing I don’t use a star rating as I’d have to come back and change it every day. The album doesn’t really end on a high for me either, but the less said about that the better. This is a good album, I do enjoy listening to it, but like I’ve hinted at throughout, it doesn’t quite do it for me all the time. I wouldn’t want an album like their first again, it’s good that they have moved on, mellowed somewhat even, but I just don’t want them to stay over into the middle of the road territory, which I fear they could do. C’mon Kasabian, let’s fling some more of your (processed) beats back into the mix next time.