Friday, September 30, 2011

Album Review: Kasabian - Velociraptor! (4/5)

English rock band Kasabian return with, Velocriaptor! their fourth album. Not being an avid fan of the band, I'm not that familiar with them--apart from the singles that you should know ("Shoot the Runner," "Underdog" and "Fire"). It follows 2009's West Ryder Pauper Lunatic Asylum which landed the band the biggest hit of their careers so far and probably one of their most recognisable numbers, the aforementioned "Fire."

The album kicks off the laid-back, layered rock of "Let's Roll Just Like We Used To," jaunty drums underpinned with lining piano chords before sueging into a more forceful production during its latter half, where the horns, hand-claps and strings come into play, wearing an awesome chorus to boot too. Lead single "Days Are Forgotten" follows, which turns up the rock-studded atmospherics--chugging electronic guitar chords beneath sturdy rhythmic drum patterns and over-laying falsetto soaring over parts of the verses. This has an almost Robbie Williams flair to it--particuarly on the chorus.

Tamer, "Goodbye Kiss" turns in a more rootsy approach to rock, adhering to tambourines, acoustic and banjo-esque guitar strings, drums and a swooning melody. "Le Free Verte" sounds like a pop hit waiting to happen--taking a melancholic turn, toning down the rocky atmoshperic to a rawer bass line--heavy thumping beats. Strings stapled to the background over-cut with the archetypal guitars strings--exuding piercing Radiohead (it's a stretch, I know) like aura within in its blunt melody.

Title track "Velociraptor!" turns up the noise--literally, beneath the distorted layered electronic guitars and rapid drums there's an antagonising meshed vocal bleating of "ra ra ra ra ra ra ra..." after the chorus. It's the albums at its most energetic. "Acid Turkish Bath (Shelter from the Storm)" reigns things in, stripping down to clattering drum beats, playing over softening, underlining guitars, although things briefly get a little dramatic as heavy orchestration makes its way to the forefront during its middle section.

"I Hear Voices" ventures into slightly more techno territories--with a dancey '80s synth chords, 808 drum beats and persistent bass lines fueling the majority of the song. It's different, almost out of place, but still works somehow. "Re-Wired" is a return to the conventions of rock--layered guitar work, drums and booming chorus that adhered to their signature talk/sing ventures.

Towards the end of the album things get a little blander, "Man of Simple Pleasures" falls on quite weak note. Similar to "I Hear Voices," "Switchblade Smiles" is different, beginning with chugging, distorted, bleating electronic guitars undercut with persistent drums, electronic piercing, soft pulsing before toning things down for its warbling, muddy chorus. The album ends on a raw note "Neon Noon" is stripped down to acoustic guitar, synth and vocal.

Velociraptor! is an interesting album--a little inconsistent. I'm not as enthusiastic about it as critics have been, some even calling it a "potential classic," I wouldn't go that far, but it is a decent rock album that tries its hand at tackling more left-field sounds--even if they sound a little out of place with in its rocky surroundings.

Best: Days Are Forgeting, Velociraptor!, Let's Roll Just Like We Used To, Le Free Verte, Acid Turkish Bath (Shelter from the Storm), Neon Noon


ww_adh said...

I just got this, but haven't listened to it much. Reviews have been quite positive.

Adam Gosden said...

It's kinda different to what they've done before. I didn't like it at first but its growing on me. I reviewed it on my blog aswell;

Good review, btw.. Noticed something at the end it's 'Neon Noon' not 'Moon', probs just a typo!

J.Mensah said...

Thanks dude, It was a typo--corrected it. It's grown on me quite a bit since I've reviewed it too.