Kasabian – Velociraptor!

Kasabian – Velociraptor!

4/5

2011

Kasabian’s stadium-sized anthems have garnered the band as many rabid fans as detractors, and it’s not hard to see why. They’ve never been as witty as contemporaries like Arctic Monkeys, and their Oasis-like quest for domination feels like a Brit-rock cliché at this point. Plus, aside from a handful of moments, Kasabian’s reach often exceeds their grasp, the group sometimes unable to flesh out their ideas into memorable songs over the course of an album. But 2011’s Velociraptor! may just be their most cohesive and entertaining record yet, even if it’s not going to change anyone’s mind about the group. The band doesn’t really chart new territory here—it’s still the same mix of swaggering dance-rock, swirling psychedelia and Chemical Brothers-style electronica—but this is their most consistently exciting set to date, marrying songcraft and production more seamlessly than ever. Keeping producer Dan the Automator on board from West Ryder Pauper Lunatic Asylum means there is once again a heavy reliance on rhythm, and they bring more elements into the mix, whether it be the matador trumpet riff that begins the album or the menacing lo-res synth on “Switchblade Smiles.” It’s the songs themselves, though, that make Velociraptor! the success that it is. The one-two punch of “Let’s Roll Just Like We Used To” and “Days Are Forgotten”‘s fist-pumping hooks begins the record off on a high note; “Re-Wired” is a great, stomping single; “Neon Noon” closes things out with blissed-out psychedelia, and the manic rush of the title track may just be the best thing on here. And since Kasabian’s lyrics have always been better suited to shout-along choruses than to academic analysis, it helps that they don’t dwell on words, with the hooks and music simply steamrolling over everything else. No, not every track here is a knockout (I’m looking at you, “Man Of Simple Pleasures”), and, yes, it’s arguable that a few overstay their welcome (particularly “La Fée Verte”). But even in these moments, the record never loses the momentum created by its considerable high points. Fans may treasure some of Kasabian’s older work more, but it’s hard to deny that Velociraptor! is the group’s most refined and purposeful effort yet, far too creative to be derided as simple “lad-rock.”

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Posted on October 5, 2011, in Kasabian. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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