jason stives reviews the new album from the brit rock band …
In the lexicon of the British-coined “lad rock” (college/bro rock by American standards), no other band has given a more decisive direction to their music than Leicester rockers Kasabian. Widely acclaimed but virtually despised by those who don’t like ego-driven geniuses like Oasis, Kasabian has in a little under a decade redefined their purported genres by muddying the lines between rock, dance, and any sub genre they tack on.
Their fourth album, the humorously titled Velociraptor!, coos loudly away at their established label and furthers their sound far from what most expect from them. After the uniformed output of the experimental West Ryder Pauper Lunatic Asylum, Kasabian have gone a bit scatterbrain, if not to some pleasing results. The lead single “Days Are Forgotten” is sonic guitar-ridden dance track complete with nonsensical howling and lead singer Tom Meighan’s alluring vocals. The one two punch of this and the sounds of the sixties like quality of “Goodbye Kiss” seems like such a departure from the drum-core-filled sounds of their heaviest hits like “Empire” and “Club Foot,” but the band is far more clever than most of their listeners and continue to showcase a vast sound and a rock and roll model most artists choose to disassociate themselves with in the world of Top 40 radio and iTunes charts.
The ’60s retro-sensibility the first few tracks elicit leave a very confused state by the time tracks like the bombastically techno sounding “Switchblade Smiles” and numbskull-like drive of the title track shift into high gear. But are these tracks really that off putting or indecisive? Not at all. In fact, it’s the sporadic landscape of Velociraptor! that makes it an album with a slow burn to understand. Band leaders Meighan and guitarist Sergio Pizzorno have been touting in their interviews about how the title stems from the misbelief of the extinct prehistoric creature, believed to be something it really isn’t it.
Kasabian as a group have been living by this notion over four triumphant releases and Velociraptor! is inherently reminiscent of a ’60s psych album in the vein of The Pretty Things’ 1967 classic S.F. Sorrow. From the opening track “Let’s Roll Like We Used To,” all the way through tracks like “Man Of Simple Pleasures” and the closer “Neon Noon,” Kasabian has embraced a dormant and eclectic background of great rock and pop music of the past as well as using a variety of instruments rock band’s choose to ignore.
A constant looping of Indian Raga horns and bongos combined with soaring strings lend a fantastical quality to the album, and the smooth transition between the more solemn ’60s tracks and the modern experimental tracks like “Acid Turkish Bath” and “La Fee Verte” give the change in direction in the record an easy move. After a few listens, it’s clear that what Kasabian has concocted is not scatterbrained as much as it is translusive to a generation’s changing music taste.
Rating: 8 out of 10 (Excellent)