2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
On form and pushing (their own) boundaries,
This review is from: West Ryder Pauper Lunatic Asylum (Audio CD)
If you're a fan of Kasabian then this is a must-buy, of course - but don't let my saying this put you off. The band is on-form and making some of the best music of their (hopefully long) career.
If you were wondering what the BBC used as the signature theme for its Glastonbury coverage this year, then it's to be found of course on the chorus of Fire, the excellent first single from ...Asylum (sorry - it's too long to write in full, I'm afraid).
If you have previously written off the band as having cynically engineered a sound that is 60 per cent Oasis and 40 per cent Primal Scream - something I did at first, I readily admit - the opening tracks of this mouthful-of-an-album would appear to confirm such allegations.
You get the feeling that Kasabian can churn out dance beat-laden, quality and addictive Oasis-esque anthems all day long. Kasabian are brilliant at what they do best - no question about that. But can they push their own boundaries?
Well, yes, they can. The wonderful title (or silly title - depending on your view) instantly suggests 'concept album', which in turn either excites you or sets alarm bells ringing. (I'm sure the latter at the record company.)
But fear not, the Leicester boys clearly have as much talent as bravado: the strange turns, new more subdued sounds and echoes of classic 70s rock are very welcome but are balanced by the usual catchy hooks and melodies.
Be warned, it's a bit of a grower - stick with it and you'll be rewarded. They clearly have an appetite to evolve and explore - both of which they do on this album, and with relative success.
As to whether it hangs together well is another matter: it's far from neat and not all the songs work. In fact, it's a bit of a pizza of an album, but then, when the subject matter is madness who's to say the mildly schizo, all-over-the-place feel isn't intended? The production is certainly interesting, often spot-on. And besides, given the great tunes and a welcome, more-subdued and darker sound, we'll forgive them.
WRPLA shows Kasabian to have outgrown the title of princes to the Oasis crown - something that has hindered them as much as helped in terms of critical success. I still doubt it will see them being taken seriously by the more snobbish music fan, but with this album Kasabian should markedly increase their fanbase.