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He's Gunna Find You, He's Gunna Kill You
Velociraptor! - Kasabian
Member Name: Andy.mack
Velociraptor! - Kasabian
Advantages: Some very good tracks, excellent example of experimentation that works
Disadvantages: Three songs at the end of the album that just dont click for me in the context of this album
Who Are Kasabian
For those of you yet to come across the Indie rock 4 piece they originate from Leicestershire and formed in 1999 they were formed whilst lead singer Tom Meighan and guitarist Sergio Pizzorno were still at college. During those early days their music was quite heavily influenced by The Stone Roses and Oasis, which is said to be reflected in the bands early demos. Having recruited bass player Chris Edwards from the studios where they recorded their early demos. They recruited drummer Ian Matthews to complete the bands current line up in Bristol during 2004, when he was asked to tour with the band prior to joining up permanently in 2005.
Odd Name, Where'd It Come From?
Having formed under the name Saracuse originally they decided to make a change in the name shortly after being picked up by the RCA record label. The new name, Kasabian, was picked by former Keyboard and guitar player Chris Kaloff. He had been reading up on a member of Charles Manson's cult, Linda Kasabian, who acted as Manson's getaway driver. Thinking the name sounded quite cool he pitched it to the rest of the band and they agreed it would be the new band name.
Album Number 4
The band returned to the studio in November 2010 with producer Dan The Automator, who had previously worked with the band on 2009's West Ryder Pauper Lunatic Asylum. Once in the studio Serge worked closely with Dan to ensure that the album had the sound the band were really going for. As the main creative force behind the band songwriter Pizzorno likes to keep an element of control over each of the albums and I think the end result works well with his contribution both in the band and behind the mixing desk.
As a result the work both men put in on the mixing desks and production booth ensured another quality album from the Leicestershire based band, scoring a number one in both the UK album and album download charts.
It is unusual to see a band proclaim their 4th album as their best work to date, however that is exactly what Kasabian have been quoted as saying. For me, their best album remains 2004s self-titled debut, however this does come close in parts. In fact as soon as I'd heard "Days Are Forgotten", the first single from the album, I knew that this was going to be a decent album. It exudes a certain swagger that the band really does well. It provides a fast start to the album with a decent drum beat carried along well by the bass riffs and the lead guitar. The vocals from Tom really do fit in with the bands trademark sound and this track works really well as the albums 2nd track.
That's because it follows on from the albums lead track "Let's Roll Just Like We Used To", which starts slowly with the bang of a gong and some sound effects before a lone trumpet announces the start of the album. From here it builds nicely with a mixture of strings and horns and the bands trademark guitar riffs. The vocals compliment the musical styling well and the lyrics harp back to a time when things were easier and more care free. It's a decent opener that really sets the tone and links up well with "Days Are Forgotten", which carries the sound nicely into the album.
The whole tone of the early exchanges of the album is lightened a little with "Goodbye Kiss", which slows things down a touch. It's a more melodic track than perhaps we're used to from Kasabian, but the style really works. Again a mixture of strings and a nice simple guitar riff compliment Tom's strong vocals throughout. The album then moves drastically from the melodic sounds of "Goodbye Kiss" to the far more laid back and psychedelic sounds of "La Fee Verte", which also brings Serge onto lead vocals.
The song musically, lyrically and vocally seems to meander slowly through its 5 minute 48 second run time. It is a really good song though and shows another direction that Kasabian are pushing their musical talents. With heavy Beatles styling's it is something different from the band, but it is something that works well. Almost instantly from the end of the previous track the album's title track "Velociraptor" explodes through your stereo. It's a much faster paced track with simple lyrics and a more carefree attitude. It's a reasonable track with a decent guitar lead sound, but my real concern is, well does it really fit in with this album, the answer perhaps is not really, but it is still very enjoyable.
I wasn't really sure about "Acid Turkish Baths (Shelter From The Storm)" the first couple of times I listened to it, however it has really grown on me the more I listen to it. It has a really interesting bass line that really draws your attention, however with a more Middle Eastern influence it really shouldn't fit into this album, but it does. The vocals are strong and really show off tom's vocal range, whilst musically it is quite a diverse approach that really sounds good. the style changes again with "I Hear Vocies", which takes on a more synthesised and keyboard led sound. It's a much slower paced track that brings things back to a more electronic grounding.
Then comes perhaps one of the biggest reminders of what Kasabian do best in "Re-wired". It has a familiar and at times simplistic structure that works well. The bass and guitars compliment each other really well with the bass really taking the lead. It's also a track that reminds me a lot of their debut album, however slightly more mature sounding. Once again the style changes and for the first time not in a good way. In "Man Of Simple Pleasures" the vocals and music just sound a little too flat and don't really compliment the good work already done on this album. It's not even that it's a bad track; it just doesn't really fit into the overall sound of the album and for me is really the weak link.
The downward trend started by "Man Of Simple Pleasures" continues on "Switchblade Smiles", which for me just doesn't fit onto this album. It has a really dark and intimidating tone to it that really highlights the synthesisers once again. The lyrics are quite dark and moody and the whole song just doesn't really fit for me. After such a promising start the albums seems to fade off towards the end and that feeling is finalised in "Neon Neon", the last track on the album. It's quite a relaxing track that on its own sounds really good, however in the context of the previous two tracks it just adds to a disappointing end to the album.
Almost, But Not Quite
I'd like to say that I loved Velociraptor and agreed that it was the bands best work so far, however I just can't bring myself to say it. There are some excellent tracks on this album and up until the last 3 tracks I was almost willing to admit this was my favourite Kasabian album, but the end of the album really lets it down for me. There are some excellent songs and even the playful Velociraptor plays its part in making this album. It shows a band willing to diversify their approach to making an album and the different styles work.
Perhaps I'm being too harsh on Kasabian, however that's purely because they are victims of their own success. The early albums were so good that it takes a lot in my eyes for them to compete and whilst Velociraptor went close it just had one or two missing links that didn't work for me. I'm sure that all 3 songs at the end of the album will grow on me the more I listen to the album, however I do feel that the band have released better, complete albums than this and for that reason I cant quite give it 5 stars. If you've liked the bands previous work or if you like Oasis, Stone Roses, Arctic Monkeys and the like then I'd suggest you will enjoy this album, a decent Indie rock effort, just not quite their best.
Summary: Kasabian are back with album No. 4