English psychedelic rock band Kasabian have released their third album, "West Ryder Pauper Lunatic Asylum."

It was released on 5th June and had already shot to number 1 in the UK album charts.

The band, who are from the Leicestershire vilages of Blaby and Countesthorpe, have based the album's name on a real institution.

The West Riding Pauper Lunatic Asylum was a mental institution built in Menston, near Leeds, West Yorkshire, England in the 1800s. Its name was later changed to High Royds Psychiatric Hospital. The hospital was closed down in 2003. Sergio Pizzorno further explained the choice of album title: "The album isn't about the place, I just first heard about it on a TV documentary, and the words just struck me. I love the way it looked and the feeling it evokes. Apparently, it was one of the first loony bins for the poor, before that it was mainly rich people who got treatment.

Guitarist Sergio Pizzorno has called the 52-minute album to "the soundtrack to an imaginary movie."

The album cover depicts the band "getting dressed up for a party at the asylum, looking in the mirror at the costumes".

British bands are much more melodic than many of their American counterparts, and you couldn't get a much more melodic album than this album, which you'll end up whistling to yourself all day.

And if you like music which sounds like it's from 1960s Swinging London, then this is for you.

A contender, already, for album of the year.

Published: 22 May 2009
The Sun


KASABIAN - West Ryder Pauper Lunatic Asylum

4.5 out of 5

New LP cover shows the band as loonies at a loony bin looking at themselves in the mirror as they dress up for the asylum's party

..........West Ryder Costume Ball..........
..........PROGRAMME OF MUSIC..........
........Played by the KASABIAN quartet.......

vocals......Tom Meighan......vocals
guitar......Sergio Pizzorno......vocals
bass......Chris Edwards......bass
drums......Ian Matthews......drums

This musical study was undertaken during a period of reflection within the asylum.
Herein contains a compendium of found documents, artefacts, and deja vu.
This is the end of the tracks, where the fountains fly into your eyes.

BOUNDING between dressing rooms, Tom Meighan, Kasabian's hyperactive frontman, is finding it hard to sit still.

He's a man who makes you tired just watching him - like a child who's had too many sherbet dips.

Tom is energised about playing shows again and buzzing about the band's monumental third album, West Ryder Pauper Lunatic Asylum.

"This is a 21st Century, modern, rock 'n' roll record. And there's nothing quite like it out there," he says, talking 19 to the dozen.

"No f*****s are near us to be honest. I'm not saying that being arrogant.

"A lot of bands have made horrific toilet records. Albums that should've been flushed down the f***ing bog. They're p*** poor and they're called money records, all about big hits. They've been thrown straight into the factory to churn another record out and it's not quite worked.

"We've never been like that. We're a bit more thoughtful, a bit more classy and a bit more cool."

The saviours of rock 'n' roll ... Kasabian are doing it 21st century-style

Tom and Serge Pizzorno, Kasabian's front line of attack, are backstage at Brighton's Dome theatre where the band have just soundchecked for tonight's sold out Great Escape show.

Tom says: "We've played a few sporadic shows to warm up the new songs but that soundcheck, we were really hitting it.

"We can't wait to get on the tour bus and go for it every night."

Serge, the musical driving force, sits serenely while Tom, excited about tonight's gig, explains: "Serge is more relaxed than I am - I just need to be active. I just need to be doing what I do. But if you take that away from me, I go a little bit mad."

On a recent trip to Japan, Tom found the only way to combat jet-lag was to head straight from the plane to Disneyland for a few hours.

"If I'd gone straight to my hotel room I wouldn't have known what to do. That distance and the time difference just buckles you, but Disneyland just kept me awake and alert and then I was fine."

West Ryder Pauper Lunatic Asylum is experimental, psychedelic and includes Eastern horns, gypsy violins and plenty of groove and rhythm to give it a cinematic feel.

"Yeah, it's like the soundtrack to an imaginary movie", says Serge. "And playing the new songs has broadened the set. By the time we get to the bigger shows later this year, it's going to be a carnival."

Buzzing ... frontman Tom

Tom says: "It's a psychedelic record which is all about escaping. It's not like the olden days, about acid or getting out of your mind, but about the beautiful sounds and where they take you."

Serge adds: "It's about the journey - set the controls to the heart of the sun. It's getting out of wherever you are, wherever you are in your head and being transported to wherever you want to go."

Tom continues: "We've been to the Planetarium in London - that's psychedelic. You put your head back, look up and the screen opens up. Then you go to Madame Tussauds and that's psychedelic as well." Kasabian's third album will surely silence the doubters who pigeon-hole them as another "lad rock" band.

Tom laughs and says: "It's like calling a midfielder a defender. It's hilarious. If you actually listen to our records you can tell we're not. We're influenced by Can, Silver Apples, Pretty Things and Tangerine Dream. People that call us lad rock have probably never listened to these bands."

On the album, Tom sees Fast Fuse as their very own Tarantino soundtrack with its Kraut-rock bass and furious vocals.

Tom says: "It's a Tarantino take on the 21st Century. There are a lot of angry men out there and Serge's lyrics show what they're saying."

Alejandro Jodorowsky's controversial cult 1973 film The Holy Mountain was a defining influence on Serge's ideas for this album, just as it has for Empire Of The Sun, MGMT and Santogold.

Serge says: "A lot of bands take the look of the film and I've seen lots of videos like it. For me it was more to do with freedom. It was so ambitious and it blew my mind though admittedly I watched it when I was out of my mind! So it made perfect sense."

The nutty album title was inspired by a real place, The West Riding Pauper Lunatic Asylum near Wakefield, West Yorkshire, which opened in 1818 and looked after the "insane-poor".


Serge says: "The name gave me the freedom to approach it however I wanted. If you're going into the realms of madness and escapism, then you can put songs like Thick As Thieves and Vlad The Impaler - which are nothing like each other - on the same record.

"And I've always been fascinated by madness, people losing their minds like Syd Barrett, Peter Green, and in One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest.

"And I'm there you know. Compared to what's 'normal' I probably am a loony. That's why we are dressed up on the album cover - we're ready to go to the Ball, the Christmas Ball at the asylum.

"Every song we wanted to do things differently. That's why on West Ryder/Silver Bullet we have (Sin City actress) Rosario Dawson duetting.

"She came to one of our gigs and it seemed a crazy idea as I didn't even know if she could sing. But her American twang changes the whole mood of the song, and it's a kind of love story.

"And there's a song called Swarfiga - and yes it is named after the industrial hand cleaning stuff (it's actually spelled differently). My dad is a mechanic and I always thought it was a great name."

The explosive Vlad The Impaler, released as a free download in March with a video starring Noel Fielding of The Mighty Boosh as a vampire slayer, pays tribute to the late Dark Knight actor Heath Ledger through the line "Joker, see you on the other side".

Tom explains: "When Heath Ledger died, Serge had just written Vlad The Impaler so he added that line to pay respect." Serge says: "He'd just finished this amazing film and his life was over.

"I identified with him. I know so many people who get off their heads and then can't sleep so they have a sleeping pill. I thought 'That could have been anyone I know. It's just such a waste of a great man's life."

West Ryder Pauper Lunatic Asylum was produced by Gorillaz/hip-hop svengali Dan "The Automator" Nakamura and the band decamped to San Francisco to his studio. Tom says: "Most of it was done in Leicester but San Francisco gave us an escape."

Serge adds: "We needed an expert overseeing the rhythms and the flows and to get it to hit as hard as The Beastie Boys. He made the vocals up front which captures Tom's personality well. It's really about being a rock 'n' roll star.

"Everything worked well in San Francisco, it was the perfect place."

"And there's Alcatraz," butts in Tom. "Which is not a very nice place. I'd leave the people from Britain's Got Talent on there. Including the judges. It's a good place to put people that are really weird."

One of the best songs on West Ryder Pauper Lunatic Asylum is Where Did All The Love Go? A track inspired by today's loss of innocence in society.

Serge says: "Kids today grow up really quickly and there's too much information.

News channels, the internet and social networking sites. People aren't leaving their bedrooms and it's just crazy.

"The things that make you most happy are quite simple. That song is looking for the romantic image of life, when people looked out for each other."

Tom adds: "When we went to visit the kids in hospital for the Teenage Cancer Trust, it made me think about life. I saw kids with real problems and they were so brave.

"It's a wonderful charity and it makes you think about life and why we should be happy."

This year is an important year for Kasabian, who also include bassist Chris Edwards and drummer Ian Matthews. They do a stadium tour with Oasis this summer and play Glastonbury, going on before Bruce Springsteen.

Serge and Tom say they've never been more up for it.

"Anyone other than The Boss and we would only have settled for a headline slot, but he's just f*****g beyond big," says Serge.

"I hope we get to meet him and Silvio from The Sopranos (Steve Van Zandt) plays guitar with him. I would really like to see him too."

With all this talk of film soundtracks, does Serge fancy writing a film soundtrack?

"It would be a dream come true. Maybe a Bond film. There's not been a good song since McCartney's Live And Let Die and Duran Duran's View To A Kill. Or a soundtrack for The Terminator."

So how far have Kasabian moved on in the five years since they put out their first album.

"It's f*****g INCREDIBLE," yells Tom. "At first, we were sneered at as s***kickers from Leicester. Now we're taking over.

"We've progressed amazingly and naturally. We've just been left alone to get on with it. This album shows what reptile skin we have. It says 'Go on then, test us, hit me.'

"We've made a f*****g amazing record and that makes me so glad and very, very proud."

Track listing

1. Underdog
2. Where Did All The Love Go?
3. Swarfiga
4. Fast Fuse
5. Take Aim
6. Thick As Thieves
7. West Ryder/Silver Bullet
8. Vlad The Impaler
9. Ladies And Gentlemen
10. Secret Alphabets
11. Fire
12. Happiness

Last edited by Blackleaf; Jun 17th, 2009 at 11:34 AM..