Album Review: Kasabian – West Ryder Pauper Lunatic Asylum

By on Wednesday, 17th June 2009 at 12:00 pm

Kasabian (album cover)I admit. I’m a fan of Kasabian. I originally fell in love with the band way back in 2004 when they released their self-titled debut album, er, ‘Kasabian’. Bounding with trippy, epic numbers such as ‘L.S.F’, ‘Reason is Treason’ and ‘Club Foot’, I admired their swagger, and I liked their psychedelic tunes. Two years later, the band returned with a foot-stomping second album in the form of ‘Empire’. Fierce tracks such as ‘Shoot the Runner’ unsurprisingly took this more rock and roll lead album straight to the number one slot. In October of the same year, I caught the band live in Camden, where they also went on to prove to me they’re definitely one of the best live acts going at the moment.

But enough of me bigging up Kasabian. Let’s get back to the details. Sunday (14th June) saw the band score their second number one album with their third release, ‘West Ryder Lunatic Pauper Asylum’ (…and breath). The band have been calling it their best material yet and this week, I grabbed a copy to check out whether ‘West Ryder’ really does live up to all the hype.

Album opener, ‘Underdog’, begins slowly amid fuzzy, bubbling electronics. Fifteen seconds in and bam! in kicks an epic riff, loudly announcing that Kasabian are back with a vengeance. “Kill me if you dare!” frontman, Tom Meighan, spits out with a cocky furore to the backing of distorted guitars and a pulsating beat. ‘West Ryder’ then continues to nicely slip into ‘Where Did All the Love Go?’, a trippy disco number which undoubtedly harks back to the band’s earlier material.

The effortless swagger continues into tunes such as ‘Fast Fuse’, where Meighan’s speedy vocals contrast well with guitarist, Serge Pizzorno’s beautifully psychedelic chants of “Cool lightning in the skyline”. Pizzorno continues vocal duties in ‘Take Aim’, a slower, contemplative number which could be described as a little limp.

The music of the 60s has had a clear influence on ‘West Ryder’. The uber-jolly ‘Thick as Thieves’ is like a modern-day Kinks number, while ‘Secret Alphabets’ sounds as if it could have been freshly plucked from a psych album of said era. Indeed, the whole album is certainly pretty trippy. ‘West Ryder Silver Bullet’ is an stunningly exotic number, which features a duet between Meighan and Sin City actress Rosario Dawson. Sounding like something from a Tarantino film, the mystical instrumentation featured on the track is down-right epic.

The roaring, distorted guitars and in-your-face vocals of ‘Vlad the Imapler’ continue to inject real power into the record, while the slowly-galloping verses of debut single ‘Fire’ fantastically explode into a frantic chorus which sees the band cry-out “And I’m on fireeeeeee!!”. ‘West Ryder’, however, is ultimately brought down to a slower pace come the end of the album. ‘Happiness’ is another Serge-led tune. Sunny and uplifiting, the Primal Scream-esque song happily makes use of gospel choirs and hand claps throughout. Admittedly, this final track is a little distant musical-wise from the rest of the album, but it’s still a joyful number and end’s the album on a warming note.

To conclude, ‘West Ryder Pauper Lunatic Asylum’ is a pretty much awesome album from start to finish. The band have really knuckled down and reduced the filler on the record to near zero. ‘West Ryder’ mixes the psych of debut ‘Kasabian’ with the boisterous rock of ‘Empire’, along with a whole new added layer of exotic intrigue, certainly making this album a deserving number one this week.

Kasabian‘s West Ryder Pauper Lunatic Asylum is out now.

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