Review Summary: Wired to a higher standard?
Kasabian, for the most part, are not an album band. When you think of the group, thoughts of well-constructed, cohesive LP’s don’t tend to spring to mind, and Velociraptor!
is unlikely to change that too much. That’s not to say that Kasabian’s 4th album is sloppily produced or lackadaisically constructed, but rather that the record will deliver, in terms of consistency and cohesion, what we’ve come to expect of the band over the years.
To lay it out bare, Velociraptor!
seemingly does what the marmite-outfit does best – drops a few corkers in amongst a set of enjoyable, but simultaneously unfulfilling, numbers. The tracks to cherry-pick this time around include the unusually melodic (given the group’s usual straight-ahead, anthemic approach to singles) ‘Days Are Forgotten’, the spunky and utterly nonsensical title-track, the lo-fi, new-wave pop of ‘I Hear Voices’ and arguably the finest tune on offer, ‘Re-Wired’ – a hooky as hell, rambling rocker.
The second tier offerings are rather strong after a few spins, also, baring witness to Kasabian’s inclusion of a few fresh ideas. Throughout the record, the band plays with eastern sounds, including oriental vocal wailing and exotic instruments, most prevalent on the sturdy, but ultimately passable ‘Acid Turkish Bath’ – a 6 minute false-exotica epic. Melody, or at least a conscious attempt to utilize it, is more present on Velociraptor!
than on any other Kasabian record thus far too, particularly on the first half, with the opening cut, the sweetly charming ‘Goodbye Kiss’ and the Beatle-esque ‘La Fee Verte’ all offering worthwhile delights.
When one chalks it up, the majority of Velociraptor!
shines through fairly brighter than one might expect from the non-singles of a band like Kasabian, especially when one takes the time to venture beyond the shiny singles and into the growers and slow-burners on the second-tier of quality, which make up the remainder of the LP. It’s still another Kasabian album for the most part, but to give the band credit they have attempted to spice things up a tad with the eastern flavours and more melodic approach, and although nothing awes as much as earlier singles like ‘Empire’ or ‘Club Foot’, the overall package winds up sounding slightly more consistent than one might expect from a group frequently labelled as a ‘singles-band’.
has a few brilliant tracks, a number of solid, enjoyable outings and one or two skippers. In that sense it’s what we’ve come to expect of a Kasabian LP, but like its predecessor, the you more you put into it, the more rewarding it becomes as you uncover the little nuggets of change the band have tried to incorporate. But in the same sense, if you’re not a Kasabian fan, and so won’t invest time (perhaps rightly so), then Velociraptor!
will be just another album destined only to serve as the precursor to some future singles’ compilation you’ve had planned for the band since 2004. Whether it’s right to wait for that fictional (although inevitable) album or pick up Velociraptor!
is up to you – the answer, as it has been for some years, was likely decided as soon as you saw the album artist either way.