Came from the booze and the fags generation
And prayed for the mayhem to start
You said you were foolish but I saw the genius
In pulling the stitches apart
— Let’s Roll Like We Used To, Kasabian
Velociraptor! markets Kasabian as the last gang in town. Singer Tom Meighan revealed the album’s title was inspired by velociraptors apparently being the rock ‘n’ roll band of their prehistoric times by hunting in packs of four. Can Kasabian’s fourth album devour the world?
Oft touted as heirs to Oasis’s lad rock constituency Kasabian have always been a little weirder than that. 2009’s West Ryder Lunatic Asylum had its fair share of boorish anthems — Underdog, Where Did All The Love Go?, Fire — but also featured odd left field lysergic numbers — Vlad The Impaler, West Ryder Silver Bullet — that showed the Leicester lads’ sonic pallet was more expansive than the Gallagher brothers’ adherence to straightforward rock ‘n’ roll.
Guitarist/songwriter Sergio Pizzorno is Kasabian’s driving force and has genuine musical talent to back up the band’s ‘biggest band in the world’ self-promotional bluster. So it’s a tad disappointing that Velociraptor! irons out the psychedelic kinks of previous efforts with its dinosaur eyes hungry for the prize of increased commercial success. It’s a solid set of songs that may lead to bigger things for Kasabian at the expense of the strange. It’s a step back and a regression into more orthodox rock ‘n’ roll shapes.
Openers Let’s Roll Like We Used To and Days Are Forgotten set the tone early doors with a pining for the days of lost youth also looking to the past. Third track Goodbye Kiss is the smoothest pop song Kasabian have ever attempted. It’s not quite their Wonderwall but it wouldn’t be surprising if it broke through to a wider audience if radio stations pick up on its languid charms.
So, there’s nothing wrong with aiming for a bigger fanbase per se. It’s just unfortunate that Kasabian have chosen the path of least resistance in trying to — like Oasis — blatantly ape the more conservative sounds of The Beatles’ oeuvre. La Fee Verte‘s has ‘Lucy in the sky/Telling me I’m high’ just in case the influences aren’t obvious enough.
The title track hilariously provides some respite from the seriousness on display elsewhere though. Its ‘Velociraptor!/He’s gonna find ya/He’s gonna kill ya/He’s gonna eat ya’ chorus is ridiculous but it’s also irresistibly amusing and its raging beats and fuzzed-up guitar storm create a velocity that would have been welcome on other tracks.
The bonkers-titled Acid Turkish Bath (Shelter From The Storm) looks like it may also provide a momentary lapse of reason but soon devolves into mid-paced balled territory despite some arabic string stylings trying to enliven proceedings. Penultimate song Switchblade Smiles is a disjointed mess of noise but is all the better for it since it has some spark but by then it’s too late to save Velociraptor! from its lack of experimentation.
Hopefully there will be more lunacy next time.
earworms: Days Are Forgotten, Velociraptor!