Kasabian West Ryder Pauper Lunatic Asylum

Kasabian West Ryder Pauper Lunatic Asylum
They always complained of the 'Madchester' comparisons, saying they weren't that kind of band, but Kasabian's previous posturing and, well, frankly, their music, said different. As it turns out, they weren't lying. West Ryder Pauper Lunatic Asylum finds the band far from the wide-kneed swagger and enforced parka-wearing of Northern life in mid-'90s. Bluesy, intelligent and with a whole lot of soul, the new sound is surprisingly orchestral and mellow in places, even on the more commercial songs like "Where Did Our Love Go?" The raw aggression of 2004's self-titled debut may be gone, but five years after the fact, such crudeness would seem both fake and trite. The force and energy that has always set them apart from low-fi indie fashion bands is renewed on songs like "Fast Fuse", while "Thick As Thieves" explores the gorgeously poignant sound of whiskey drinking in a bleak hole-in-the-wall for the over '70s. It's a shame that they seem to have lost the arrogance of their youth, because with music like this, it's more than justified. (Columbia)