Twitter Facebook
  Reviews | Gig Listings
Kasabian Velociraptor!
Released 16 September 2011

Dan The Automator,
Sergio Pizzorno
Label Sony
Length 50:38
Genre Indie rock, psychedelic rock
Website www.kasabian.co.uk

Having caught a few of the cocky, self praising interviews from Tom Meighan and Sergio Pizzorno prior to the release of Velociraptor! I was worried about how the new album was going to sound. Don’t get me wrong, when your last album contained songs like 'Fire', 'Underdog' and 'Where Did All The Love Go' you’re entitled to a bit of boasting now and again, but we all know pride comes before a fall and both Pizzorno and Meighan looked proud as punch as they glorified their latest release. So is Kasabian’s latest album quite as good as they think it is?

Well the surprising answer is yes; Velociraptor! is an album with a serious agenda that borrows many elements from the greats yet still manages to retain the Kasabian swagger throughout. It trips with ease through many different musical styles, resulting in a jarring and at times daunting first listen through. As if intuitively recognizing the epic nature of the journey ahead, the album opens with the splash of a gong (a la the Rank Organisation film openings) followed by a Spaghetti Western style trumpet line that suddenly changes into the psychedelic 'Let’s Roll Like We Used To'; a harking back to the good old days of childhood backed up by a small orchestra. This is clearly not going to be a straightforward trip.

While the majority of the praise rightly goes to chief songwriter, Sergio Pizzorno, Dan the Automator deserves a mention too for knowing when to put his indelible mark on the music, as is the case with the heavy electro synths and industrial drums of 'Switchblade Smiles', and knowing when to back off and let the music speak for itself as is the case with the surprisingly simple 'Goodbye Kiss'. He sensibly avoids trying to unite the schizophrenic tracks with any underlying theme and instead allows the mayhem to occur naturally, resulting in the energetic and frankly bonkers 'Velociraptor!' being followed by the opium dripped 'Acid Turkish Bath (Shelter From The Storm)'. The whole album is a sequence of similar mismatches that somehow manage to make sense on a grand scale.

'La Fee Vert' is the showstopper for me, a dreamy tribute to absinthe and all its psychedelic trappings. The song makes direct references to both Salvador Dali and David Bowie, however the main inspiration for this song is The Beatles, made blatantly obvious with the opening lines, "Oh Green Fairy what you done to me? / I see Lucy in the sky / telling me I’m high". Lyrically it is a little clichéd but musically there are several moments that masterfully link back to The Beatles; the back and forth switching of tempos between the dreamy verse and the up beat chorus mirrors 'Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds', The barely lucid, stream of consciousness lyrics mirror 'I Am The Walrus' and 'Strawberry Fields' while even the “na na na na’s” towards the end of the song sound like 'Hey Jude' on a come down, this is pastiche at its finest.

With a back catalogue of hits like 'Club Foot' and 'Shoot The Runner' I would have expected perhaps another two or three radio friendly hits from this album. What I didn’t expect was eleven cracking tracks that would have me drawing comparisons to The Beatles, Velociraptor! is definitely a pleasant surprise. Kasabian have found form where the Arctic Monkeys have wobbled and The Libertines have fallen away, perhaps it’s their cockiness that keeps them going.

- Brian Kinsella