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Kasabian - Velociraptor!
Velociraptor! - Kasabian
Author Name: daisylee3
Velociraptor! - Kasabian
Advantages: Some good songs
Disadvantages: A few songs which feel very 'samey'
Who Are Kasabian?
Kasabian are a five piece indie rock band who formed in Leicestershire (my home town!) back in 1999. The band has released four studio albums and has won three NME awards. The band's debut album, Kasabian, was released in the UK in 2004. It came fourth in the UK Album Chart and four of the tracks became popular singles. The band's other two albums prior to Velociraptor! were equally as popular as there debut album, with Empire (2006) reaching number 9 in the UK Album Chart, and West Ryder Pauper Lunatic Asylum (2008) gaining the 'Best Album' award at the 2009 Q Awards. I first came across Kasabian's music quite a while ago now. The first song of theres that I heard (and instantly loved!) was Shoot the Runner. Unfortunetly not many of Kasabian's other songs quite compare to this song in my personal opinion, however since hearing it I have listened to many of there songs, purchased all of there albums and become a pretty big fan of theirs. If you have never heard of Kasabian before, which is pretty unlikely, then I would probably compare them to band such as Oasis, Kaiser Chiefs, Artic Monkeys, etc. I definetly don't think they're quite as good as any of the bands mentioned, but they sort of mix together bits and bobs from each of those bands to create there own sound, if that makes sense. I adore Kasabian's lead singer, Tom Meighan, as he has such a husky voice - this is why I would compare there sound to Oasis, but with a bit more of a modern, fun and electro feel. The only thing I would say that I don't like about Kasabian is that sometimes they go a bit over the top with there vocals and some of the songs are boderline screamo. Okay, they're no where near screamo, but as someone who isn't a huge fan of rock music there instrumentals and (at times) vocals can be a little hardcore! No one is quite sure of where the band's name comes from, although it has been speculated that it is taken from the Tate murders get away driver Linda Kasabian.
The Band Members
- Tom Meighan - Vocals
- Sergio Pizzorno - Guitar, synths, vocals
- Chris Edwards - Bass
- Ian Matthews - Drums
- Jay Mehler - Touring guitarist
Velociraptor! is Kasabian's fourth studio album. It was officially released very recently in mid September 2011 however leaked onto the internet ten days before the official release date. The band started working on it in November 2010, with Daniel Nakamura, a hip hop producer who also produced one of the band's past albums and is also known for producing the Gorillaz debut album. The tenth track on the album, Switchblade Smiles was the first single released, it was exclusively played on Radio one in June 2011. Velociraptor! was quite an anticipated album, seeing as it is Kasabian's first studio album in over three year, plus the fact that Kasabian are quite a cocky bunch of lads and were boasting that this would be there their best album and the one that would get alot of hype and general attention, they even claimed that it would change peoples lives and that it would match the standards of Beatles music! They definetly aren't shy of compliments. Not many of my friends like Kasabian, even the ones who are into rock music, so it wasn't the most talked about album in my local area or anything like that, however I was personally really looking forward to its release and the album has recieved very positive critical acclaim, with critics stating that the album has lived up to expectations. Some critics go as far as saying that the album is an improvement on there older work, which I don't agree with. I do like this album, but I don't think it brings anything new to the music scene. It's quite a run of the mill rock album and nothing really stands out. Alot of the lyrics don't actually mean anything and are just there for show, while the instrumentals are slightly random and don't actually merge in with the song's lyrics quite as much as i'd of liked as it creates messy songs which are all stuck together. Obviously though as I said before I do like this album and despite how rubbish I have just made it sound, it's pretty good - after all, Rolling Stone have said that this is Kasbians best album. It's just not very original or something that makes you stop and listen in my opinion but it's definetly an album I can stick on and listen to without getting bored of it. The album has eleven tracks and there is also a deluxe DVD available which has 21 tracks. As far as I am aware there is not a deluxe album available.. bizzare. The album's name is quite a weird one and I am still not completely sure how to pronounce it, but apparently a Velociraptor is a dinosaur.
The album artwork is quite difficult to describe. It's quite unusual but nothing outstandingly eye catching or stunning. It simply has a black and white picture which is pixelated to look like a cartoon. The picture is of Tom Meighan, the band's lead singer. He has his mouth open, as if singing, with the only colour on the artwork been the red of his tounge. The picture is multiplyed and spread around the corners of the album, with each picture been joined by Tom's beard to create a border. If anyone has seen the advert for this album you will know what I mean, but if not then please see the picture that I have uploaded with my review - then you'll know what I am on about. The picture of Tom is quite powerful, he has his eyes scrunched up and it's obvious that the picture is of him mid-verse/singing and he has passion and emotion on his face in my opninion which reflects how much he enjoys singing. This is my personal take of my meaning of the artwork though. The back of the album is very basic, it's white in colour with black font which simply lists the tracklists and has the track number next to each one. The CD itself is black with white outlines of stick people who are all sort of curled up together/attatched to eachother. I definetly think that the design of this album is quite manly/man orientated, it's not the sort of album a girl would see and necessarily like the look of or be drawn to, unless obviously you know of the band prior to seeing the CD in the shops. The album artwork doesn't put me off though, I think in its own way it is quite meaningful but that is just how I interprate the album due to Tom's facial expressions.
Price and Availablity
The Velociraptor! album is quite widely available. It has only just been released so I would be aware that the prices are quite high at the minute, and will probably go down within a few months. The album is available from supermarkets, music shops such as HMV and also from online shops such as iTunes, Play and Amazon. The album can be bought digitally or in physical form. I bought my physical copy from Amazon as this was the cheapest place to get it from when I bought my copy. I paid £7.99 which considering how new the album is I don't think is too expensive. There is also 11 tracks on the album which have a total run time of around 50 minutes so I do think it is worth what I paid. In high street shops the price ranges from £7.99 to around £12. If you are interested in buying this album I would reccomend simply typing the album name into google or popping into your local HMV.
Track 1 Let's Roll Just Like We Used To
Let's Roll Just Like We Used To is the albums opening track. It was a let down, to be blunt. Ironically, they certainlly don't roll just like they used to. The opening of the song was good, it reminded me alot of a vintage beatles pop song, but with edgy instrumentals. The first 47 seconds is quite bizzare and consists of moaning and trumpets. I love the rythm of the guitar and the trumpets and giant gong add an unusual and suprisingly nice feel to the track. It's a song that builds up, giving the impression that it's about to burst into a huge climax of wild vocals and instrumentals, but it just doesn't. I waited and waited, and then by time the song had finished I was still waiting. It is definetly anti-climatic. The lyrics are pretty good but don't 'stick' if you know what I mean. The song tells the story of young and careless kids lounging about in fields, running through graveyards and experimenting with drugs. It's a song in which the singer is basically reminising about the past, and basically wishing he had a purer childhood - "came from the booze and the fags generation". They aren't really the type of lyrics that leave a lasting impression and despite the catchy rythm I just don't think the song works quite as well as it could of. I think this is quite a blokey song, as the vocals are quite cocky and just not that meaningful and despite the good lyrics, the way in which they are spoken just doesn't give them justice. It's a song that has that 'familiar' feel to it and I do actually like it despite the couple of weak lines.
Track 2 Days Are Forgotten
I love the intro of this song - a rythmatic 'ah ah ah ah' - it is the type of intro which really gets you into a song and ready for the explosive vocals and instrumentals which never really materialise, (almost, but not quite) unfortunetly. It's still a good anthem though, it brings back the sound of Kasabian that I know and love - strong vocals, a catchy chorus and back up vocals that put a smile on my face - the back up vocals are cheeky and very 'Gorillaz' sounding. The song is really catchy, it has a groovy feel to it and it's a feel good song in my opinion. It's the type of song that reminds me of a family get together and dad-dancing. The song is quite repetitive but doesn't get annoying - i've listened to this countless times and I am not sick of it yet! The instrumentals can't be faulted with the guitar flowing smoothly and the drums keeping the pace without been overpowering. The subject of the song goes on about a variety of randomness, I can't really make much sense of them but who cares? You'll be too busy singing along and dancing to care about what the song actually means (if anything!)
Track 3 Goodbye Kiss
Well, I think you will of guessed what the song is about from reading the title, and yes you're correct, it is about a break-up. It's a bittersweet kind of song that has a nice mix of vocals and instrumentals that do actually merge together well unlike a majority of the other tracks on this album. I love the guitar riff, it's really unusual sounding. Goodbye kiss is probably one of my favourite songs on the album as it has a nice melody and it's relateable and thought provoking. It is definetly a pop song but it has the potential to be percieved as a sort of love song if you listen to it carefully. Tom's vocals are amazing and you can hear the emotion in his voice. He still has his usual cocky tone but it's toned down alot and almost soothing. This is another of the tracks that reminds me of the Beatles, I think it's the instrumentals more than anything a certain lyrics as well. The song definetly isn't instantly recogniseable as a Kasabian song - if you heard it on the radio I doubt that you Kasabian would instantly spring to mind, but I do think it is one of the best songs on this album, despite how much it feels like they've ripped off an Artic Monkeys song and jazzed it up a bit.
Track 4 La Fee Verte
This is a really nice song, it actually sends chills down my spine. The vocals ooze emotion, and I can't believe that I didn't like it at first - it's definetly grown on me. This is another song which mimics the Beatles but adds a certain something to the whole concept, and it even comes complete with a Lucy in the Sky reference. There's not a huge amount to say about this song. It has a familiar 1960s pop song feel to it and it's a nice song to lie down and listen to. It doesn't really get the adrenalin pumping so isn't the type of Kasabian song that i'd stick on my iPod to get me hyped up for a run, it's more of a meaningful song but has a sort of 'James Bond theme song' edge to it, if that makes sense!
Track 5 Velociraptor!
This is a bizzare but oddly humurous and fun song. As I mentioned before, a Velociraptor is a dinosaur, and I think this song is focused on this fact with lyrics such as "he gonna kill ya, he gonna eat ya, he gonna suck your blood" etc. It's a bit of a silly song - there is pretty much no meaning to it however it's a nicely paced and catchy song which has a bit of a bizzare but fun feel to it. It's definetly a blokey sort of song, the type you'd hear a group of lads singing while they walk home from the pub, but I would reccomend giving it a listen. The instrumentals are pretty epic and I find Tom's vocals quite hot! I think this would be best suited as the intro track as it's the type of song you can't skip, it keeps you sucked in right until the end and even once the song is over it will stick in your mind - it's really catchy!
Track 6 Acid Turkish Bath
I am not really keen on this song. It definetly reminds me of there older work and has a bit of a modern day Led Zepplin inspired sound to it. It mainly consists of heavy instrumentals and guitar riffs and is a bit too hardcore sounding for me. It's the sort of song you would hear at a mosh pit, but has a weird middle eastern sound to it, it's just not great in my opinion and I am not keen on it at all, although everyone has different tastes so you might love it! The lyrics are decent but the vocal tone ruins it for me.
Track 7 I Hear Voices
Hmm.. another one I am not particulary keen on! This song definetly is very electro sounding and sounds like it's an attempt in making the band's genre expand but it just doesn't work. The riff however is really good and makes the song bearable, the vocals are quite agressive as are the lyrics. The song could be so much better if the instrumentals were toned down and the vocals softened because, actually, the lyrics are quite good when you listen to them properly. The song tells the story of a man who is full of regret and battling with his conscience, it's about addiction and the inability to stay faithful. He is frustrated and wishes that he was able to love someone and care about someone other than himself and his own needs.
Track 8 Re-Wired
This has quite a unique, cool sound to it and it's quite modern and fresh. Despite this though I don't like the song. I'm not sure why, it just irritates me, lol. As I said before though everyone has different tastes.
Track 9 Man of Simple Pleasures
I really like this song, the album speak alot of truth and sounds like a song that has personal meaning to it (not to the point of been in depth though!) rather than been about pointless stuff. I love the instrumentals and the vocals are good too. The song is chorus is nice and catchy while the lyrics speak truth and emotion while still been quite cocky and it has a great rythm to it.
Track 10 Switchblade Smiles
The title of this track (Switchblade Smiles) put me off listening to it. The title is so cliche and reminds me of a song that Blink 182 would write, however it is actually quite good - it's bearable, anyway! It reminds me alot of The Prodigy, with the drums and a heavy, distorted bass. It's definetly the most rock sounding song on the album and doesn't have a very indie feel to it and it's not a very in depth or meaningful song either, but the brief harmonies do make it that bit better. It's a bit of a mess of a song to be honest with so much going on, it's quite hard to listen to all the way through in my opinion.
Track 11 Neon Noon
This is a really good song and a great end to the album. It's a nice song to relax to with in depth and more serious lyrics. It's quite a moving song and has a nice calm feel to it and I love the chord progressions they use. It's the sort of song that leaves you feeling satisfied, so it's a brilliant outro track.
The album definetly is not perfect, and at points I felt slightly bored, however a few of the songs are brilliant and certian lines and the way the vocals are said really stick with you. This isn't an album for everyone, it's almost certianly not the sort of album a fan of Taylor Swift and Beyonce would enjoy, however despite a few weak songs, it has got a good overall sound and it's definetly worth a listen to.
Summary: It's alright