If there is one criticism of Kasabian’s fourth studio album, Velociraptor!, it’s this: How do they improve from here?
The hotly anticipated follow-up to 2009′s Mercury Prize nominated West Ryder Pauper Lunatic Asylum has roared straight into the UK album charts at number one, and with good reason.
This album shows a band approaching the very top of their game, as well as displaying a growing maturity.
At first it strikes you as being different. The opening track, Let’s Roll Just Like We Used To, is no banger like their previous efforts, instead a more intriguing and tempting start, almost mellow in its delivery. It lures the listener in. And track three, Goodbye Kiss, is a heartbreaker of a song that sounds like a 50′s pop effort; the first real love song Kasabian have recorded.
But having made a name for themselves with big tunes, it would be foolish for the Leicester lads to deviate too much from the road that brought them so much success. The heavier tracks on this album are absolute mammoths.
Perhaps the highlight is Re-wired, a trademark Kasabian song. Chainsaw guitars, thudding beats and heavy bass all enrobing lead singer Tom Meighan belting out a sing-your-heart-out chorus: “Hit me! Harder! I’m getting re-wired!” It sounds sensational on record, but if ever there was a song made for the live arena, here it is. It’s not hard to imagine this track being hammered out in arenas across the country on the forthcoming tour.
The title track is equally impressive, an outlandish and simply outrageously good fun piece of rock pop, again with a catchy chorus: “Velociraptor! He’s gonna find ya, he’s gonna eat ya, he’s gonna kill ya!”.
As per usual, the album boasts plenty of bonkers lyrics born from the mind of writer Serge Pizzorno; “You were sat at home chewing on monkey brains” (Days Are Forgotten), and “I went out for some milk three days ago, I met Dali in the street, he knocked my off my feet” (La Fee Verte).
Pizzorno readily admitted recently that he couldn’t remember writing most of the album but that the only narcotic he’d used was a lack of sleep resulting from the rigours of fatherhood and looking after his one-year-old son Ennio.
But tracks like the aforementioned La Fee Verte suggest that Pizzorno is reaching his zenith as a song-writer. The song is a psychedelic tribute, or perhaps an ode, to hallucinations produced from drinking absinthe, and the lyrics are suitably detached from reality. “Pass me over La Fee Verte, I’ll give you all a scare”, sings Serge as he takes lead on this track. Even the distorted fairground organ introduction to the track makes the listener feel as though they themselves are whirling around into a make-believe stupor.
Serge pledged that this would be a “juke box” album, full of sing-along classics, and he’s made good on his promise. Every track has a different influence or direction; it’s a real smorgasbord of styles and sounds.
Acid Turkish Bath (Shelter From The Storm) is another highlight, heavily influenced by Eurasian sounds, and I Hear Voices is a trippy track with a hooky synth melody throughout.
Man of Simple Pleasures is a standard album-filler type track, but even that has a chorus that can embed itself into the minds of listeners.
Lead single Switchblade Smiles is another belter, while the extraordinary aural assault is rounded off in poetic fashion with the melodious Neon Noon.
Noel Gallagher once said that if Kasabian did their job properly, people wouldn’t need Oasis in a few years. Oasis have now gone, and their mantle is Kasabian’s for the taking.
In terms of Kasabian’s fourth album, it’s job done.