Kasabian – West Ryder Pauper Lunatic Asylum
You may have watched Brazilian god KakÃƒÆ’Ã‚Â¡ fluidly manoeuvre a football whilst spinning amongst an array of Bravia televisions in a visually breathtaking ad for Sony. But did you know Kasabian was responsible for that song? With a riff equal parts latter day New Order (see Slow Jam) and recent UNKLE (see Burn My Shadow), this anthemic Underdog is one hell of an album introduction.
With the seemingly large gap between album number two and three, you’d be forgiven for writing them off as – “that band featured on every FIFA PC game’. Thankfully, 2009 sees Leicester’s Kasabian swaggering back up to the mic for some deftly-crafted blends of dance and rock, and every part of it is quality. West Ryder Pauper Lunatic Asylum is both a) a deliberate mouthful and b) audible proof that good things come to those who wait; even if it’s the band themselves who wait.
Ever since Kasabian’s self-titled debut in 2004, the Stone Roses/Oasis/Primal Scream references have been bandied about, with NME claiming that – “Madchester’ is upon us once again. First single Processed Beats became a dancefloor requisite, with following singles Club Foot, Reason is Treason and L.S.F. enjoying ample rotation. Two years later, in 2006, Empire thundered onto the indie scene, leading singer Tom Meighan and guitar guru/vocalist Serg Pizzorno to become the latest in big girl crushes. The brilliant Empire and Shoot the Runner further secured their spots in the DJ record cases around the world. A Big Day Out slot confirmed their success in the Southern hemisphere, with their cockiness being compared to the Brothers Gallagher.
And then we get to 2009, where many an anticipated album has disappointed ( Only By The Night, anyone?). Kasabian chose to wait. And tested out their wares on audiences. Originally scheduled for an early 2008 release, West Ryder Pauper Lunatic Asylum was held back until June 8 this year, allowing them plenty of time to refine their third album. Rapture-esque Vlad the Impaler was released on their website as a teaser, and we currently have the aforementioned Underdog ad-saturation. At this time, it seems like a wise move.
Named after a genuine mental asylum from England in the 1800s, Serg himself coined the 52 minute-long album as “the soundtrack to an imaginary movie”. A fitting comparison, as WRPLA ebbs and flows throughout the jaunty, the crazy, the chilled and the sedate. Obvious standouts include the jangly Where Did All the Love Go?, and the raucous Fast Fuse (why yes, it is already on a FIFA game!), where Meighan’s vocals are stretched to their rough limits.
Take Aim is their version of Gomez in their Whippin’ Piccadily days, and impending single Fire is a wickedly-sexy Western-tinged dancefloor destiny. (Check out the video clip for a unique interpretation of a hold-up. Or maybe just for Meighan’s Followill-locks). In case you did not catch Vlad the Impaler when it was an e-release, you can expect to hear a mid-record bass fest, merged with crazed chants of “get loose!” and chanted verses. Almost sounds anti-Kasabian. Oh and if that was not enough incentive to give it a spin – Noel Fielding plays a vampire in the video clip. Brilliant.
Whilst there is not much of a departure from their original style (there are still those dancefloor-awkward pauses in the middle of many tunes we have learned to embrace/use as a drinks break), WRPLA is a superbly formed album from one of today’s more consistent alternative artists. How do you know? They waited.
West Ryder Pauper Lunatic Asylum is out 5 June through Sony Music.