On "Days Are Forgotten," the band returns to the infectious rave and roll credo that catapulted them to their current stature. Super-sized and anthemic, the song is destined for FM, satellite radio, or another CSI cameo, and with lyrics like “Call me a cliché / How right you are,” the band cheekily knows it.
Seismically, the title track also knowingly replicates the spectre of previous Kasabian singles with its wall of rocky/ravey noise. "Re-wired" comes close, with its sing-along chorus, slurping high hats, and swirling guitars, but veers from stadium and anthem territory into shamelessly delicious disco.
"I Hear Voices," on the other hand, tips its hat back to tracks from their first album, and is the perfect companion to the underrated “Pinch Roller,” “Orange” and “Ovary Stripe.”
In fact, chief songwriter and guitarist Serge Pizzorno and singer Tom Meighan fare better when they focus inward, because the lowlights on Velociraptor! stem from merely replicating their influences. The Beatles-esque "La Fee Verte" starts with a lushness stronger than anywhere else on the album, but becomes tired quickly from its lack of originality and downright narcoleptic “Lucy in the Sky” lyric.
Similarly, the unfortunately titled "Acid Turkish Bath (Shelter from the Storm)" wraps itself in Zeppelin-esque cashmere, but then unravels into insipid Kula Shaker territory--a band I was happier never to think about again.
Thankfully, these are the only shaky steps in an otherwise sure (club) footed album.
Velociraptor! closes with the one-two punch of the teaser single "Switchblade Smiles" and its pugilistic beats, which are then deftly counterbalanced by the drifting ambience of "Neon Noon," the track that might be the most approachable and emotive “slow” song the band has ever written. It's a curious and further forward-looking way of bringing closure to a curious and forward-looking album.
--Chris "Gutter" Rose