West Ryder Pauper Lunatic Asylum
The third release by Kasabian is a good mix of what originally earned the band a following and a brand new direction. Essentially, Kasabian is still an electro-rock band but they’ve widened their sound to include songwriting subtleties well beyond pounding dance-floor beats and fuzz bass as on “Fast Fuse,” “Thick As Thieves,” and “Fire,” which are all catchy without coming across as one-dimensional. Sure, the band still throws down some serious grooves (“Take Aim,” “Vlad the Impaler,” “Fire”), they just offset them with slower moments that almost veer into power-ballad territory (“Ladies and Gentlemen,” “Happiness”). Elsewhere there are loopy psychedelic touches, jagged guitar riffs, and enough catchy choruses to fill a stadium. The album is produced by Dan the Automator (of Gorillaz fame) who alternates between harsh (“Underdog”), clean (“Swarfiga”), and simply trippy backgrounds (“West Ryder Silver Bullet”), all of which fit snugly into the whole concept. All together, West Ryder Pauper Lunatic Asylum is certainly the most varied, and arguably the best, Kasabian release so far.