Album Review: Kasabian "West Ryder Pauper Lunatic Asylum

The fact that you are reading this review on 17 Tracks is proof that Facebook advertising works. In September, my Facebook account began telling me that as a fan of Bloc Party, I would also like British rock band Kasabian. It took seeing the ad a few times before I decided to give the band a try.

"Fire" was the first song of theirs I heard. It was country tinged single that explodes into a massive chorus that I fell in love at first listen. The folk influenced sound was only one piece of the band's third album, West Ryder Pauper Lunatic Asylum, which is named after one of England's first mental institutions for the poor (Think that's weird? The band is named after Linda Kasabian, Charles Manson's getaway driver).

The album was described by Sergio Pizzorno, lead guitar and songwriter for the band, as "a soundtrack to an imaginary movie". It would end up being a pretty trippy movie if it were ever made. Slightly schizophrenic and demented, it borrows from Oasis, Rolling Stones, and Franz Ferdinand all with reckless abandon.

Kasabian enlisted Dan the Automater, tunesmith behind some of Gorillaz early work, which gives the album a hard edged electronic sound. Opener "Underdog" is the flagship example of this, drowning in fuzzed out guitars and throbbing synth. "Vlad the Impaler" finds lead singer Tom Meighan declaring, "we are the last beatnicks" over a rocked out hip-hop beat and "Take Aim" is a fashionable Franz Ferdinand-esque track with plenty of indie swagger.

In the end, Kasabian doesn't really sound like Bloc Party, but, like Kele and the gang, Kasabian is a band that chose to take a step towards electronica in an attempt to update their sound for their third album. And like Bloc Party, they succeeded.

Rating: 9/10

Must Download: Click to Preview
"Vlad the Impaler"


Marc said...

Kasabian always had that electronic(a) leaning...

Cram said...

Since their debut, they've always been into electronic music, psychedelia, Hip Hop stylings, Eastern vibes, plenty! Nothing Franz Ferdinand about them, they aren't generic like that. The Oasis comparison that gets made a lot is mindless. Kasabian are musicians, Oasis were just secret Labour Party dossers.

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