British eclectic rockers Kasabian recently released their eagerly anticipated 4th studio album, Velociraptor! Thriving throughout the last decade with an expansive sound, Kasabian is a band that continually adds different elements to their musical style to create a gritty, rich sound. Comparisons have been made to bands like Primal Scream, the Stone Roses and a heavier Oasis. They have been honored with the BRIT award for best British band and the NME award for best album, after the release of their last album, West Ryder Pauper Lunatic Asylum, just to name a few.
The core of their sound wouldn't be considered new, but the style in which they present it has certainly not gone unnoticed. Keeping it dim and gritty yet with a fullness of sound that keeps your ears guessing, Velociraptor! builds even more on West Ryder Pauper Lunatic Asylum's vast, unfolding scope of sound. One song can start off with a simple jagged guitar rift, introducing you to the song, a quick meet and greet, and by the end, all have the possibility of showing up to this diverse party: Middle Eastern chimes, synthesizers, organs, trumpets, and a string section. All the sounds get along quite well, evened out over 11 tracks that seem to fly by way too fast. Velociraptor! Is a sensational album that adheres to no strict diet of any particular genre; instead it pushes the boundaries, and what comes out is an intelligent and eclectic musical journey that will leave the listener deeply satisfied and wanting more.
The opening track, "Let's Roll Just Like We Used To," is a great opener to the album, serving up a starting gong followed by a horn section, leading into what feels like a Spaghetti Western crossed with a bit of the Middle East, resulting in a wonderful mysteriousness. "Days Are Forgotten" hypnotizes the listener with its pulsating guitar and chanting, which lead into brilliant lyrics that flow seamlessly with the guitar.
After a strong start, Kasabian kicks it into high gear. The high-energy dance that is "Velociraptor!" leads into a brilliant three-song run that really takes the album to the next level. "Acid Turkish Bath (Shelter From The Storm)" sounds exactly like the title implies: starting off like an updated indie version of Led Zeppelin's "Kashmir," this track is a brilliant journey through the Sahara. The breakdown continues the Led Zep Kashmir theme, while a string section and chanting harmonies add to the rich blend of genres that come together perfectly in, arguably, the best track on the album.
Not to be outdone, "I Hear Voices" and "Re-Wired" carve out their own space within the record. Synthesizers and keyboards dominate the landscape on "I Hear Voices," while lead singer Tom Meighan serenades. "Re-Wired" is more stripped down than most of the songs, relying on an upbeat bass and guitar combination, though it gets its spice from a string section, keyboards, and a cool chorus.
Another fantastic song is "Switchblade Smiles," which is driven by its electronics more than traditional instruments; this is a prime example of Kasabian's brilliance and the band's ability to take chances on an ever-expanding sound catalog. Between the TRON-like beat and synthesizer, the vocal chants, and the side-winding guitar riff, this song is the major must-listen for this album.
Velociraptor! Is an exceptional piece of work, and Kasabian has certainly achieved new heights. Complacency is often the Godzilla to creativity's Tokyo, but never for Kasabian. With Velociraptor!, Kasabian has given their current fans something new, and it has, hopefully, enticed new ears to join this diverse listening party.
Favorite Album Tracks: "Acid Turkish Bath (Shelter from the storm)" "I Hear Voices" "Switchblade Smiles"
Reviewer Bio - Tim Rosini is part of the editorial team at Onlinerock team. Having a background in English literature with a concentration in creative writing, Tim found himself working for various magazines and websites after moving out to the west coast last summer. Having the ability to adapt his focus from business writing to creative fiction he has found a great place to exercise his passion for music on the onlinerock website.