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

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 (2006). 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.

Critical reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Aggregate scores
Source Rating
Metacritic 68/100[5]
Review scores
Source Rating
AllMusic 3/5 stars[6]
Drowned in Sound (5/10)[7]
The Guardian 4/5 stars[8]
The Independent 4/5 stars[9]
NME 8/10[10]
Pitchfork Media 4.9/10[11]
PopMatters 3/10 stars[12]
Rolling Stone 2.5/5 stars[13]
Spin 2.5/5 stars[14]
Uncut 5/5 stars[15]

West Ryder Pauper Lunatic Asylum received positive reviews from music critics. At Metacritic, which assigns a normalized rating out of 100 to reviews from mainstream critics, the album received an average score of 68, based on 15 reviews.[5]

Adam Sweeting of Uncut praised the band for putting a lot more depth into their sound while delivering the songs with a dark undertone to them, calling it "A world away from their ladrock roots, you might say."[15] Dave Simpson of The Guardian also gave praise to the band's newfound demented sound, noting that their trademark tracks are more melodic and utilize different insrumentals, concluding that "the resulting epic is barmy and beautiful, suggesting that while Kasabian's amps go up to 11, they can also sound good when they're turned down to four."[8] Hamish MacBain of NME praised the album's mishmash of psychedelic-infused tracks resembling that of The Rolling Stones' Their Satanic Majesties Request, calling it "a shambling, splattered, ultimately much more enduring mess that will make sense if you just hang on in there."[10]

Andrew Leahey of AllMusic commended the band for improving on their previous effort with a psychedelic sense and horror-like atmosphere mixed with their usual dance-rock sound, calling it "an interesting, unexpected piece of work, devoid of a militantly commercial single like Empire‍ '​s self-titled track, and lacking the shaggy Madchester vibes that Christopher Karloff brought to 2004's Kasabian."[6] While praising tracks like "Fast Fuse" and "Ladies and Gentlemen (Roll the Dice)" for deviating away from their Madchester sound into more '60s sounding bands like the Stones and T-Rex, Dom Gourlay of Drowned in Sound criticized the album for carrying half thought-out tracks with production that apes the sounds of other well-known Britpop bands, saying that it "suffers in the most part for being so predictable."[7] Bill Stewart of PopMatters felt the album was bogged down by the band's pretentious, instrumental choices and studio handling, saying that "All the gimmicky studio effects in the world can't mask the fact that this album is likely to be one of the most hollow you'll hear all year."[12]

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"

Charts and certifications[edit]

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 BBC Two (previously BBC Three) 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 and reached number 3 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.


  1. ^ a b "Kasabian Planning Special Festival Slots". Clash. Retrieved 12 March 2011. 
  2. ^ [1][dead link]
  3. ^ "new BRAVIA ad from Sony featuring Danny Dyer, with music by Kasabian and their new track Underdog". Bravia. 28 February 2009. Retrieved 15 June 2009. 
  4. ^ a b "Kasabian reveal why they called album 'West Ryder Pauper Lunatic Asylum'". NME. IPC Media. 12 June 2009. Retrieved 13 June 2009. 
  5. ^ a b "Reviews for West Ryder Pauper Lunatic Asylum by Kasabian". Metacritic. CBS Interactive. Retrieved 11 November 2015. 
  6. ^ a b Jeffries, David. "West Ryder Pauper Lunatic Asylum - Kasabian". AllMusic. All Media Network. Retrieved 8 November 2015. 
  7. ^ a b Gourlay, Dom (8 June 2009). "Album Review: Kasabian - West Ryder Pauper Lunatic Asylum". Drowned in Sound. Retrieved 27 August 2011. 
  8. ^ a b Simpson, Dave (5 June 2009). "Pop review: Kasabian, West Ryder Pauper Lunatic Asylum". The Guardian. London: Guardian Media Group. Retrieved 27 August 2011. 
  9. ^ Gill, Andy (23 October 2011). "Album: Kasabian, West Ryder Pauper Lunatic Asylum (Columbia)". The Independent (Independent Print Limited). Retrieved 27 August 2011. 
  10. ^ a b MacBain, Hamish (2 June 2009). "Album review: Kasabian - 'West Ryder Pauper Lunatic Asylum'". NME. IPC Media. Retrieved 27 August 2011. 
  11. ^ Cohen, Ian (8 June 2009). "Kasabian: West Ryder Pauper Lunatic Asylum". Pitchfork Media. Retrieved 27 August 2011. 
  12. ^ a b Stewart, Bill (9 June 2009). "Kasabian: West Ryder Pauper Lunatic Asylum". PopMatters. Retrieved 11 November 2015. 
  13. ^ Hoard, Christian (5 August 2009). "West Ryder Pauper Lunatic Asylum : Kasabian : Review". Rolling Stone. Wenner Media. Archived from the original on 26 August 2009. Retrieved 27 August 2011. 
  14. ^ Bevan, David (20 May 2009). "Kasabian, ‘West Ryder Pauper Lunatic Asylum’ (RCA)". Spin. SpinMedia. Retrieved 8 November 2015. 
  15. ^ a b Sweeting, Adam (2 June 2009). "Kasabian - West Ryder Pauper Lunatic Asylum". Uncut. Time Inc. UK. Retrieved 8 November 2015. 
  16. ^ "Kasabian – West Ryder Pauper Lunatic Asylum". Australiancharts.com. Hung Medien.
  17. ^ "Kasabian – West Ryder Pauper Lunatic Asylum" (in German). Austriancharts.at. Hung Medien.
  18. ^ "Kasabian – West Ryder Pauper Lunatic Asylum" (in Dutch). Dutchcharts.nl. Hung Medien.
  19. ^ "Kasabian – West Ryder Pauper Lunatic Asylum". Lescharts.com. Hung Medien.
  20. ^ "Kasabian – West Ryder Pauper Lunatic Asylum". Charts.org.nz. Hung Medien.
  21. ^ "Kasabian – West Ryder Pauper Lunatic Asylum". Swisscharts.com. Hung Medien.
  22. ^ "Kasabian | Artist | Official Charts". UK Albums Chart
  23. ^ "Kasabian – Chart history" Billboard 200 for Kasabian.
  24. ^ "British album certifications – Kasabian – Empire". British Phonographic Industry.  Enter Empire in the field Keywords. Select Title in the field Search by. Select album in the field By Format. Select Platinum in the field By Award. Click Search
  25. ^ Jones, Alan (16 June 2014). "Official Charts Analysis: Ella Henderson's Ghost sells 132,360 to top singles". Music Week (Intent Media). Retrieved 15 November 2015. (subscription required (help)). 
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