Kasabian
West Ryder Pauper Lunatic Asylum


2.5
average

Review

by Rudy K. STAFF
June 8th, 2009 | 25 replies


Release Date: 2009 | Tracklist

Review Summary: As a whole, West Ryder is just another Kasabian record, one with the requisite empty bravado of the falsely entitled and some seriously moronic lyrical posturing.

Remember when Oasis was cool" Well, so do Kasabian, and for this, shall we say, confident band from Leicester, they’ve never given up on the dream of being the next Britpop band to take over the world like those lovable Gallagher brothers. At face value they have it all – a critically acclaimed debut record, a snarly frontman, a songwriter/guitarist who occasionally steps up to the mic, and a “we’re the greatest band in the world” attitude. Closer inspection reveals, however, that Kasabian have long been mere pretenders to Oasis’ long dusty throne; their self-titled debut really wasn‘t all that amazing, singer Tom Meighan is just as annoying as Liam with fewer redeeming vocal qualities, and, while Sergio Pizzorno’s riffs are often the high point of any Kasabian record, they are usually more imitation than fresh goods.

But inane amounts of confidence and the regular hype from the British press, not to mention Oasis itself, have gotten the band this far, and with their third effort, West Ryder Pauper Lunatic Asylum, the group has delved into uncharted territory: the concept album. “Concept,” of course, being used very loosely; Pizzorno has stated the album is “the soundtrack to any imaginary movie,” and at 52 bloated minutes, it feels like one, albeit one without any noticeable theme or motif. Thing is, opener “Underdog” could have been on any Kasabian release. Roaring along grimy guitar riffs and Kasabian’s trademarked processed backbeats, “Underdog” features Meighan doing his normal Liam-esque rant, replete with bloodless threats like “kill me if you dare / hold my head up everywhere.”

Much has been made of this record’s supposed “experimentation,” and for all of “Underdog’s” undeniable catchiness, it’s enjoyable to hear the band mix things up on the psychedelic “Where Did All The Love Go",” with its staccato strings and a ‘60s imitation chorus, and the excellently trippy acoustic stomp of “Thick As Thieves.” For every success, however, there’s a half-baked expedition like the over-before-it-starts “Swarfiga” or a failed genre exercise like the raga-rock of “Secret Alphabet” (which may or may not have been a response to Oasis’ similarly-themed “To Be Where There’s Life” off last year’s record).

Producer Dan the Automator’s influence is clearly felt on West Ryder, particularly on the squelching electronica of “Vlad The Impaler” and the excellent slow motion Western haunt that is “Ladies And Gentlemen, Roll The Dice,” not to mention the numerous pseudo-hip-hop beats that crop up in every other song. But a producer’s work can only save the source material so much, and when the lyrics are particularly boisterous and clanging, as on the embarrassing “Fast Fuse” (“I’ve got no time to love / just a city to abuse” and “I’m like Lucifer’s child, wild, acid done / black sunglasses shade the morning sun” go a few choice lyrics. Yeah, you’re quite the badass, Tom), even a solid hook can’t stave off disbelief at this band’s ego.

Indeed, it’s largely Meighan’s inability to deviate from his faux-Liam impression and limited range that reminds one that this is just another Kasabian record, for all its bells and whistles. Combine that with misfires like the predictably long “West Ryder Silver Bullet,” including the mandatory spooky spoken-word intro and Hollywood actress duet (Rosario Dawson contributing barely-there backup vocals) and the cringe-inducing sappiness of closer “Happiness.” Gentle ballad featuring soul-searching vocals by Pizzorno" Check. Handclaps" Check. Gospel singers to ram home the point that this is a seriously deep song" Check. A band that thinks they’re way better than they actually are" Quite possibly.

Like on every Kasabian record, there are some strong songs: for my money, there hasn’t been a better potential single than “Underdog” since “Reason Is Treason,” and when Kasabian do what they’re used to, like on first single “Fire,” or ape Oasis and their ‘60s forebears more or less perfectly (“Thick as Thieves”), this comes off as a pretty enjoyable record. But as a whole, West Ryder is just another Kasabian record, one with the requisite empty bravado of the falsely entitled and some seriously moronic lyrical posturing.



Recent reviews by this author
Vansire Angel YouthGolden Features SECT
Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever Hope DownsOkkervil River In The Rainbow Rain
Blood Cultures Happy BirthdayTaylor Swift Reputation
user ratings (318)
Chart.
3.6
great
other reviews of this album
SigismundFreudian (3.5)
Kasabian goes insane....



Comments:Add a Comment 
RevengeSoldier
June 8th 2009


307 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0 | Sound Off

I'm still trying to get my head around this album... but at the end of the day I have realised there really isn't much to get my head around! It's just so PLAIN. But I do think the review was a tad harsh, although you do make some good points. Nice one, overall.

rasputin
June 8th 2009


14968 Comments


i tried to get into these guys because a girl i was dating loved them, but they are just ugghhhhh

klap
Staff Reviewer
June 9th 2009


11995 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

yeah, they're definitely a singles band for me - i love reason is treason but can't stand listening to their debut; same goes for most of their singles/albums

Digging: Lucy Dacus - Historian

Spare
June 9th 2009


5567 Comments


fire sucks, therefore assuming entire album sucks. plus kasabian sucks.

AliW1993
June 9th 2009


7511 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

yeah i love their singles but the albums arent that great. i'll still get this though.

ConorMichaelJoseph
June 9th 2009


1870 Comments


I saw these guys live last year, they were supporting Muse (!), but it was pretty meh. Muse were awesome.

klap
Staff Reviewer
June 9th 2009


11995 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

i feel like they'd put on a solid live show....like at a rave where i wouldn't care

colin25
July 4th 2009


3 Comments


Whats with the Oasis comparisons, they sound nothing alike!

DaveyBoy
Staff Reviewer
July 13th 2009


22486 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

As most are commenting here, Kasabian are a singles band big time. I haven't heard this album as yet, but it seems like nothing has changed.



Right now, if I had to choose a song of 2009, it would be 'Fire'. The hook in it is out of this world. Not a bad video either.

Douchebag
November 28th 2009


3626 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Just bought this because it was very cheap and they're playimg BDO, so I figured I should give them a listen.



"and the cringe-inducing sappiness of closer “Happiness"



Would have to say that's one of the highlights of the album for me, although the gospel backing vocals at the end were a bit much.

Douchebag
December 12th 2009


3626 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I don't know if it's cool to hate these guys since I don't know much about them however this album is a grower and I love every second of it!

Maximo123
January 25th 2010


47 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

This site really fucks me off sometimes... Kasabian are actually doing something different with this album and sputnik collectively hates it but seem to fucking love shite like coheed and cambria and shit like that.

AliW1993
January 25th 2010


7511 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

album rating 3.7 = great

royscoop19
March 22nd 2010


137 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

There's nothing charismatic about this band, and simply not enough good songs on this album.

Solid though I guess.

royscoop19
May 19th 2010


137 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

"seriously moronic lyrical posturing"



agreed

Firestarter
January 30th 2011


278 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Wow I was expecting more people to love this album! It's definitely a grower and every song is brilliant (maybe not west ryder and roll the dice). Gets better every time I listen to it. You have to love fast fuse

Surtur
May 10th 2011


559 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Best Kasabian album IMO, especially after Empire, which was pretty disappointing.

DoubtGin
May 10th 2011


6880 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

>D

Divine
September 20th 2011


3663 Comments


Fire and Vlad The Impaler are a couple of my favs on this album

WhiteNoise
September 25th 2011


3621 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I love this album. It's just fun!



You have to be logged in to post a comment. Login | Create a Profile





STAFF & CONTRIBUTORS // SITE FORUM // CONTACT US

Bands: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z


Site Copyright 2005-2017 Sputnikmusic.com
All Album Reviews Displayed With Permission of Authors | Terms of Use | Privacy Policy