Kasabian - West Ryder Pauper Lunatic Asylum

by Rich Morris Rating: Release Date:

Kasabian arrived with a bang and a half early this century, brandishing a slew of ever more dynamite singles and a rigorously assembled debut album that straddled dancefloors and festival fields with monumental ease and a glint in its bloodshot eyes. It was all very post-Xtrmntr, whilst avoiding much of the seriousness that could have entailed. Whether anyone expected them to chase Oasis’ coat-tails with such keenness is by the by now; they have since been ordained as an anthemic rock colossus of the UK rock scene. That has almost certainly gone to their heads and as years and albums pass they move further away from their original chemical reaction and into attempting to elbow their way onto the table of some of the greats--early Pink Floyd (the well meaning, but slightly aimless "Swarfiga"), The Kinks (the blatant "Thick As Thieves", though it doesn’t take much to imagine Noel Gallgher bashing it out either) and The Rolling Stones ("Happiness", see also Primal Scream). West Ryder Pauper Lunatic Asylum finds them in an exploratory mood even if it struggles to lift off like either their own early material or the greats they aspire to emulate. Still, "Fast Fuse" is a rabid burst of tinny psychedelic punk and "Vlad The Impaler" intriguingly dark and electric. Not as weird or as wired as they purport to be, but given the kind of brain-numbing predictability normally peddled by bands at their level, we should be grateful for the ambition of this album. --James Berry

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