West Ryder Pauper Lunatic Asylum

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West Ryder Pauper Lunatic Asylum
Studio album by Kasabian
Released 5 June 2009
Length 51:59
Label RCA, Columbia
Producer Dan the Automator, Sergio Pizzorno
Kasabian chronology
West Ryder Pauper Lunatic Asylum
Singles from West Ryder Pauper Lunatic Asylum
  1. "Fire"
    Released: 1 June 2009
  2. "Where Did All the Love Go?"
    Released: 17 August 2009
  3. "Underdog"
    Released: 26 October 2009
  4. "Vlad the Impaler"
    Released: 14 February 2010
Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 3/5 stars link
Drowned in Sound (5/10) link
The Guardian 4/5 stars link
The Independent 4/5 stars link
NME (8/10) link
Pitchfork Media (4.9/10) link
Q 4/5 stars (Jul 2009, p.112)
Spin 2.5/5 stars link
The Times 4/5 stars link
Uncut 5/5 stars link
Rolling Stone 2.5/5 stars link

West Ryder Pauper Lunatic Asylum is the third studio album by British indie rock[1] band Kasabian, which was released on 5 June 2009. It is also the first album by the band to not feature Christopher Karloff, the band's leading songwriter, following his departure during the writing stages of Kasabian's second album, Empire. Lead guitarist Sergio Pizzorno took over as the main force behind the band's song writing.

The album was nominated for the 2009 Mercury Prize. In October 2009, it was voted the best album of the year by Q Magazine.


"Vlad the Impaler" was made available as a free download from the official website from 31 March to 3 April 2009. The first proper, physical release from the album was "Fire", which was released on 1 June.[2] Sergio Pizzorno has called the 52-minute album "the soundtrack to an imaginary movie." The album includes a duet, on the track "West Ryder Silver Bullet", with the actress Rosario Dawson. The album entered the UK Album Chart at No. 1, giving the band their second No. 1 album. "Underdog" has been used by Sony in a commercial for their BRAVIA Televisions.[3]


The West Riding Pauper Lunatic Asylum was a group of mental institutions built in West Yorkshire, England in the 1880s. 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."[4] The album cover depicts the band "getting dressed up for a party at the asylum, looking in the mirror at the costumes". Inspiration for such cover originated from the artwork of Amon Düül II's album Made in Germany.[4] In an interview with T4, the band said that each track is meant to represent an inmate within the asylum.

Track listing[edit]

All songs written and composed by Sergio Pizzorno, except where noted. 

No. Title Length
1. "Underdog"   4:37
2. "Where Did All the Love Go?"   4:17
3. "Swarfiga"   2:18
4. "Fast Fuse"   4:10
5. "Take Aim"   5:23
6. "Thick as Thieves"   3:06
7. "West Ryder Silver Bullet"   5:15
8. "Vlad the Impaler"   4:44
9. "Ladies and Gentlemen (Roll the Dice)"   3:33
10. "Secret Alphabets" (Pizzorno, Helmut Zacharias) 5:07
11. "Fire"   4:13
12. "Happiness"   5:16


  • Tom Meighan – lead vocals (all tracks except "Swarfiga", "Take Aim", "Secret Alphabets" and "Happiness")
  • Sergio Pizzorno – lead guitar, synths, programming, backing vocals (all tracks except "Swarfiga", "Take Aim", "Secret Alphabets" and "Happiness"), lead vocals on "Take Aim", "Secret Alphabets" and "Happiness"
  • Chris Edwards – bass guitar
  • Ian Matthews – drums
Additional personnel
  • Dan the Automator – additional programming
  • Jay Mehler – additional guitar on "Underdog", "Ladies and Gentlemen (Roll the Dice)" and "Happiness"
  • Tim Carter – additional guitar, keyboards and percussion
  • Daniel Ralph Martin – additional guitar on "Fast Fuse" and piano on "Happiness"
  • Rosario Dawson – co-lead vocals on "West Ryder Silver Bullet"
  • Ben Kealey – additional keyboards on "Ladies and Gentlemen (Roll the Dice)"
  • Rosie Danvers – strings direction
  • Wired Strings – strings on "Where Did All the Love Go?", "Take Aim", "West Ryder Silver Bullet" e "Secret Alphabets"

Chart performance[edit]

Charts (2009) Peak
UK Album Chart 1
Australian ARIA Albums Chart 11
Austrian Albums Chart 56
French Albums Chart 30
Irish Albums Chart 4
Japan Albums Chart 11
Netherlands Albums Chart 85
New Zealand Albums Chart 23
Swiss Albums Chart 27
Billboard 200 126

Singles and videos[edit]

  • "Fast Fuse" – Released on 2 October 2007 as a bootleg single. Although not being the first official single from the album it was the first material released from it, receiving airplay on Xfm, Absolute Radio and being posted on YouTube. Members of Kasabian's fan club at the time could buy the song on a one sided 10". Despite receiving some airplay and a limited release it never had a video. It was also used on the video game FIFA 09. As well as this, the song was used as the theme tune for Russell Howard's Good News, broadcast on BBC3 in the UK.
  • "Vlad the Impaler" – Released as a free single on 31 March 2009 to 3 April 2009. The song only got minor airplay. The song was released with a video featuring Noel Fielding as Vlad. The video was directed by Richard Ayoade. Later released on 14 February 2010 with a second music video to accompany it.
  • "Fire" – Released as the first official single on 1 June. Charted 3rd on the UK Singles Charts.
  • "Where Did All the Love Go?" – Released on 17 August 2009, the song was the third official single charting at 30 in the UK charts. A music video has been released to support the single.


External links[edit]

Preceded by
Sunny Side Up by Paolo Nutini
UK number one album
14 June 2009 – 28 June 2009
Succeeded by
Number Ones by Michael Jackson