Music

Kasabian - Velociraptor!

Velociraptor! is a huge album of huge sounds and huge ideas in a digital age when downloading and the oft-overstated demise of the recording industry was supposed to have killed such grand gestures off.


Kasabian

Velociraptor!

Label: RCA/Columbia
US Release Date: 2011-09-16
UK Release Date: 2011-09-16
Amazon
iTunes

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. For Kasabian, it’s in their DNA.

Velociraptor! is the most consistent album of Kasabian’s four-LP canon. It may not attain the soaring highs found on each of their other full length releases. There are no terrace anthems on the thrilling scale of “Club Foot”, “Shoot the Runner” or “Vlad the Impaler”, though perhaps that’s not a bad thing, either. On previous albums, the best songs often served to demonstrate how thin the stew was at the bottom of the bowl. Here, the song which comes closest to scraping the sky, “Days are Forgotten”, nearly makes the grade, especially as it’s sort of a combination of “Club Foot” and “Processed Beats,” two of the band’s earliest hits.

The unabashedly romantic “Goodbye Kiss” seems tailor-made for the end credits of a Hugh Grant film (in this scenario Hugh Grant is still making films rather than helping bring down media empires). The song is terrific, even if Hugh Grant films rarely ever were. The largely electronic “I Hear Voices” runs along a comparatively – for Kasabian, anyway – mellow course, even if Tom Meighan’s vocals would likely have remained exactly the same if Serge Pizzorno’s guitars hit the corners like a train wreck.

It’s not all essential listening, though even the songs which fail to make a huge impression – the sluggish “Re-wired” and “Switchblade Smiles”, which sounds a bit like a Black Moth Super Rainbow cover falling down a stairwell – work well enough alongside the best bits. And that’s sort of what Kasabian are all about. Whether the bleeps and bloops in Kasabian’s future-retro numbers are either effective or incongruous is beside the point, because when they’re firing on all cylinders – as on exotic-lite 007-esque album opener “Let’s Roll Just Like We Used To” – the end result can be absolutely exhilarating, especially with producer Dan the Automator back for another run.

What the cover is meant to represent is anyone’s guess, because the notion of replicating Red Hot Chili Peppers’ Blood Sugar Sex Magik with John Bonham doesn’t make any sense at all. Yet Velociraptor! is a huge album of huge sounds and huge ideas in a digital age when downloading and the oft-overstated demise of the recording industry was supposed to have killed such grand gestures off. It’s retro and ridiculous; it's music that sounds like what tight trousers strutting down the boulevard with maximum attitude look like, and it will likely sound even better in an arena filled with thousands upon thousands of partisan fanatics. Shouldn't that be the very least we ask of our rock & roll?

7
Music


Books


Film


Recent
Music

The 60 Best Albums of 2007

From tech house to Radiohead and Americana to indie and everything in between, the 60 best albums of 2007 included many of the 2000s' best albums.

Love in the Time of Coronavirus

Solitude Stands in the Window: Thoreau's 'Walden'

Henry David Thoreau's Walden as a 19th century model for 21st century COVID-19 quarantine.

Love in the Time of Coronavirus

Will COVID-19 Kill Movie Theaters?

Streaming services and large TV screens have really hurt movie theaters and now the coronavirus pandemic has shuttered multiplexes and arthouses. The author of The Perils of Moviegoing in America, however, is optimistic.

Gary D. Rhodes, Ph.D
Television

Fleabag's Hot Priest and Love as Longing

In season two of Fleabag, The Priest's inaccessibility turns him into a sort of god, powerful enough for Fleabag to suddenly find herself spending hours in church with no religious motivation.

Music

Annabelle's Curse's 'Vast Oceans' Meditates on a Groundswell of Human Emotions (premiere)

Inspired by love and life, and of persistent present-day issues, indie folk band Annabelle's Curse expand their sound while keeping the emotive core of their work with Vast Oceans.

Music

Americana's Sarah Peacock Finds Beauty Beneath Surface With "Mojave" (premiere + interview)

Born from personal pain, "Mojave" is evidence of Sarah Peacock's perseverance and resilience. "When we go through some of the dry seasons in our life, when we do the most growing, is often when we're in pain. It's a reminder of how alive you really are", she says.

Television

Power Struggle in Beauty Pageants: On 'Mrs. America' and 'Miss Americana'

Television min-series Mrs. America and Taylor Swift documentary Miss Americana make vivid how beauty pageants are more multi-dimensional than many assume, offering a platform to some (attractive) women to pursue higher education, politics, and more.

Hilary Levey Friedman
Music

Pere Ubu 'Comes Alive' on Their New, Live Album

David Thomas guides another version of Pere Ubu through a selection of material from their early years, dusting off the "hits" and throwing new light on some forgotten gems.

Music

Woods Explore Darkness on 'Strange to Explain'

Folk rock's Woods create a superb new album, Strange to Explain, that mines the subconscious in search of answers to life's unsettling realities.

Music

The 1975's 'Notes on a Conditional Form' Is Laudably Thought-Provoking and Thrilling

The 1975 follow A Brief Inquiry... with an even more intriguing, sprawling, and chameleonic song suite. Notes on a Conditional Form shows a level of unquenchable ambition, creativity, and outspoken curiosity that's rarely felt in popular music today.

Music

Dustbowl Revival's "Queen Quarantine (A Home Recording)" Is a Cheeky Reproach of COVID-19 (premiere)

Inspired by John Prine, Dustbowl Revival's latest single, "Queen Quarantine (A Home Recording)", approaches the COVID-19 pandemic with wit and good humor.

Books

The 2020 US Presidential Election Is Going to Be Wild but We've Seen Wild Before

Americans are approaching a historical US presidential election in unprecedented times. Or are they? Chris Barsanti's The Ballot Box: 10 Presidential Elections That Changed American History gives us a brief historical perspective.

Reviews
Collapse Expand Reviews

Features
Collapse Expand Features
PM Picks
Collapse Expand Pm Picks

© 1999-2020 PopMatters.com. All rights reserved.
PopMatters is wholly independent, women-owned and operated.