Release Date: Sep 20, 2011
Record label: Columbia
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock, Alternative Pop/Rock
Kasabian’s big PR problem is they’ve never had a Pulp-like wit about them, and their ability to communicate the human condition has been limited to drug trip visions and fist-pumping hippie lyrics that come off as Shaun Ryder-lite. Plus, an Oasis-esque hunger for arena domination just oozes out of this band, so they’re firmly in the “love ‘em or hate ‘em” category, and never more so than on Velociraptor! Here, they’ve got the audacity to open their album with a gong, which gives way to a Mexican trumpet riff, a funky, spy-movie bassline, and production that screams “mod!” That’s possibly the most convoluted way to go “back to basics,” as the opening “Let's Roll Just Like We Used To” infers, but Kasabian have been a band of post-Brit-pop possibilities from the get go, so bringing in techno, ethnic sounds, and an orchestra is coming home for this impudent crew. The hurdle that must be jumped is that wild ideas sometimes take precedence over great ideas, but everything is shaped into a winner thanks to the group’s undying allegiance to the groove.
Kasabian have trumpeted their fourth album with the usual eyebrow-raising chutzpah about it being a classic, but there's no denying the band have expanded their sound ever further from its lad-rock roots. There's a flamenco feel to many of the tracks, which is hardly familiar fare for four blokes from Leicester. Opener Let's Roll Just Like We Used To echoes the Last Shadow Puppets via Love.
When asked recently why [a]Kasabian[/a] had chosen to name their new album ‘[b]Velociraptor![/b]’ (that exclamation mark really makes it, don’t you think?) guitarist and amateur palaeontologist Sergio Pizzorno gave us a wonderfully ‘Serge’ answer: “Velociraptors used to hunt in packs of four,” he reasoned. “They were the rock’n’roll band of the dinosaurs.”You can laugh, but statements like that are a sizeable part of why [a]Kasabian[/a]’s existence is wholly necessary. In an age of safe, say-nothing musos concerned with how their every word will play to the blogorati, Tom and Serge stand tall as bullish, blowhard Rock Stars, unafraid to make silly proclamations with poker-straight faces.
It may seem odd at first glance, but Velociraptor! is the perfect name for Kasabian’s latest album. The UK collective has always had a pack mentality that focused on taking out, or at least surviving against, larger competitors. This release should give opponents a run for their money. Whereas West Rider Pauper Lunatic Asylum polished their space-rock styles, LP number four adds the Kasabian touch to other genres in an electrifying scattershot that still feels coherent and whole.
As bands go, Britain’s Kasabian is a tough nut to crack. They’re musically eclectic and ambitious, yet they tend to over-rely on their many influences—most prominently The Rolling Stones, The Stone Roses, Primal Scream and, of course, Oasis, with whom they share a similar level of loudmouthed pretension. Unquestionably overrated across the pond but not nearly as bad as some of their detractors would like you to believe, they’re also a tough band to assess completely free of bias, having been heavily hyped since their 2004 self-titled debut and spent their years since trying to live up to it.
Kasabian aren’t easy to pin down, though they’ve certainly alluded to their hopes of being the next Oasis often enough that’s it’s not unreasonable to start there. Though their influences appear to differ, there are certainly plenty of similarities: Stadium-filling everyman appeal; shaggy mod-approved haircuts; wanton chest-thumping bravado. The major difference, of course, is that when Oasis dabbled in electronic sounds and loops, it wasn’t necessarily a natural fit.
Since their eponymous debut album in 2004, Kasabian have become ‘Britain’s biggest band’, and without truly assuming the usual majesty that such a role confers. These most unlikely heirs have benefited from the absence of others on the pop-based guitar rock scene: U2 took over the world, Oasis fell upon its long sharpened sword, Muse went into orbit and forgot to come back down to earth, and the Arctic Monkeys steadily resigned themselves to making subtler music. And all the while the Leicestershire band has grafted away to promote their dubious claim to the throne.
For Kasabian’s fourth album, Velociraptor!, songwriter-in-chief and inveterate mouthpiece Serge Pizzorno claims he’s penned the first “truly classic album…[in] 15 or 16 years. ” Frontman Tom Meighani is no less modest, adding that the album “will change people’s lives. ” They’re both wrong, of course, but the piquant Leicestershire quintet’s latest could well be their strongest to date.
Review Summary: Lucy in the sky told Kasabian to get high and head east.With the implosion of Oasis and The Libertines, it is reassuring to know that one English quartet is still around to brighten up our day with their self-promotion. I mean, why should anyone wait for others to hype their band, when they could do it themselves? Over the course of their decade long existence, Kasabian have apparently saved rock’n’roll, saved dance music and even saved English music in general. They have done so by releasing the greatest album ever...
“Unlike a lot of top rock stars, the fame hasn't changed the lads. ” The Sun on Kasabian, Sep 1 2011 “We're not your average pop band – we're avant garde yet we've sold nearly a million records on each album in England. ” Kasabian’s Serge Pizzorno to The Sun ‘like I said before, kasabian reminds me of radiohead, but there's one big difference - this band is NOT depressing.
Velociraptor! is not even out, yet at the time of writing it is the bookies' 7-1 favourite to win next year's Mercury. The Leicester rock band have just added a second night at London's O2 in December after the first sold out. The feeling is growing that, having sold about 1 million copies of their Mercury-nominated last album, West Ryder Pauper Lunatic Asylum, Kasabian have stepped on the escalator to rock's penthouse suite.
Kasabian have been topping charts and grabbing awards in their native England since their self-titled debut dropped in 2004, but they’ve also managed to snag a decent cult following among stateside Anglophiles along the way. The group’s new album, Velociraptor!, probably won’t change that dynamic. Produced by Dan The Automator, who helped catapult Gorillaz to worldwide fame in 2001, the disc doesn’t skimp on ambition.
The Band of Horses guitarist trots, or perhaps moseys, off on a side project that channels his inner Neil Young circa Comes a Time. It’s a pleasant, moody, laconic bordering on snoozy, stripped down affair that never breaks a sweat or escalates into a gallop but should fill the bill for BOH fans looking to ease into a low-key, lazy Sunday morning after riding roughshod on Saturday night. Willie NileThe Innocent Ones(River House)Rating: Scrappy yet anthemic Dylan-esque East Coast singer/songwriting rocker Nile has been knocking around since 1980 releasing critically acclaimed albums that never found a sympathetic audience.
An album uncertain of its direction, from a band making the journey very interesting. Jaime Gill 2011 "It’s been 15 or 16 years since the last truly classic album, but I think we’ve done it," Serge Pizzorno claims of Velociraptor!, which is exactly the kind of bullish boasting which, along with their boorish interviews and boozy gang attitude, have made it easy to pigeonhole Kasabian as the Leicestershire Oasis. This is unfortunate, as their actual music has always been much more interesting and eclectic.