West Ryder Pauper Lunatic Asylum

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West Ryder Pauper Lunatic Asylum
Studio album by
Released5 June 2009
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 lead guitarist and songwriter, following his departure during the writing stages of Kasabian's second album, Empire (2006). The rhythm guitarist Sergio Pizzorno took over as the main force behind the band's songwriting.

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.[5] 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.[6]


The West Riding Pauper Lunatic Asylum was a mental institution built in West Yorkshire, England in 1818. 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."[7] 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.[7] 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
Review scores
AllMusic3/5 stars[9]
Drowned in Sound(5/10)[10]
The Guardian4/5 stars[11]
The Independent4/5 stars[12]
PopMatters3/10 stars[14]
Rolling Stone2.5/5 stars[15]
Spin2.5/5 stars[16]
Uncut5/5 stars[17]

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.[8]

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."[17] 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 instrumentals, 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."[11] 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."[2]

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."[9] 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."[10] 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."[14]

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.[18] It was later released on 14 February 2010 with a second music video to accompany it as the fourth official single.
  • "Fire" – Released as the first official single on 1 June and reached number 3 on the UK Singles Chart.
  • "Underdog" – Released on 26 October 2009 and reached number 32 in the UK Singles Chart.
  • "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.

Track listing[edit]

All tracks are written by Sergio Pizzorno, except where noted.

2."Where Did All the Love Go?"4:17
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
Japan Only Bonus Tracks
13."Runaway" (Live)4:09
14."Cunny Grope Lane"3:12
15."Road Kill Café"2:39
Japan Only Bonus CD
1."Shoot the Runner" (Live at iTunes Festival) 
2."Empire" (Live at iTunes Festival) 
3."Stuntman" (Live at iTunes Festival) 
4."The Doberman" (Live at iTunes Festival) 
5."Club Foot" (Live at iTunes Festival) 
6."L.S.F. (Lost Souls Forever)" (Live at iTunes Festival) 
Special Edition Bonus DVD
1."Processed Beats" (Live from the Little Noise Sessions)4:05
2."Black Whistler" (Live from the Little Noise Sessions)4:00
3."I.D." (Live from the Little Noise Sessions)3:59
4."Me Plus One" (Live from the Little Noise Sessions)3:06
5."The Doberman" (Live from the Little Noise Sessions)5:12
6."Runaway" (Live from the Little Noise Sessions)3:45
7."Thick as Thieves" (Live from the Royal Albert Hall for Teenage Cancer Trust)3:26
8."Fast Fuse" (Live from the Royal Albert Hall for Teenage Cancer Trust)4:06
9."Club Foot" (Live from the Royal Albert Hall for Teenage Cancer Trust)4:44
10."L.S.F. (Lost Souls Forever)" (Live from the Royal Albert Hall for Teenage Cancer Trust)7:21
11."Vlad the Impaler" (Video) 
12."Vlad the Impaler" (Making of) 
13."Fire" (Music Film) 
Australian Tour Edition Bonus Tracks
13."Julie & The Moth Man" 
14."Where Did All the Love Go?" (Burns Remix) 
15."Vlad the Impaler" (Zane Lowe Remix) 
16."Take Aim" (Dan the Automator Remix) 
Australian Tour Edition Bonus DVD
1."Underdog" (Live at T4) 
2."Where Did All the Love Go?" (Live at T4) 
3."Thick as Thieves" (Live at T4) 
4."Fire" (Live at T4) 
5."Club Foot" (Live at T4) 
6."Empire" (Live at T4) 
7."Vlad the Impaler" (Video) 
8."Underdog" (Video – International Version) 
9."Fire" (Video) 
10."Where Did All the Love Go?" (Video) 
11."Underdog" (Video – UK Version) 


  • Tom Meighan – lead vocals (all tracks except "Swarfiga", "Take Aim", "Secret Alphabets" and "Happiness")
  • Sergio Pizzorno – lead and rhythm guitar, synths, programming, backing vocals, 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]


  1. ^ a b "Kasabian Planning Special Festival Slots". Clash. Retrieved 12 March 2011. Italic or bold markup not allowed in: |work= (help)
  2. ^ a b c MacBain, Hamish (2 June 2009). "Album review: Kasabian - 'West Ryder Pauper Lunatic Asylum'". NME. IPC Media. Retrieved 27 August 2011.
  3. ^ "Kasabian - Velociraptor!". Consequence of Sound. Retrieved 29 December 2015.
  4. ^ "KASABIAN - 'WEST RYDER PAUPER LUNATIC ASYLUM' (SONY) 08/06/09". Gigwise. Retrieved 29 December 2015.
  5. ^ [1] Archived 25 May 2009 at the Wayback Machine
  6. ^ "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.
  7. ^ a b "Kasabian reveal why they called album 'West Ryder Pauper Lunatic Asylum'". NME. IPC Media. 12 June 2009. Retrieved 13 June 2009.
  8. ^ a b "Reviews for West Ryder Pauper Lunatic Asylum by Kasabian". Metacritic. CBS Interactive. Retrieved 11 November 2015.
  9. ^ a b Jeffries, David. "West Ryder Pauper Lunatic Asylum - Kasabian". AllMusic. Retrieved 8 November 2015.
  10. ^ a b Gourlay, Dom (8 June 2009). "Album Review: Kasabian - West Ryder Pauper Lunatic Asylum". Drowned in Sound. Retrieved 27 August 2011.
  11. ^ 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.
  12. ^ Gill, Andy (23 October 2011). "Album: Kasabian, West Ryder Pauper Lunatic Asylum (Columbia)". The Independent. Independent Print Limited. Retrieved 27 August 2011.
  13. ^ Cohen, Ian (8 June 2009). "Kasabian: West Ryder Pauper Lunatic Asylum". Pitchfork. Retrieved 27 August 2011.
  14. ^ a b Stewart, Bill (9 June 2009). "Kasabian: West Ryder Pauper Lunatic Asylum". PopMatters. Retrieved 11 November 2015.
  15. ^ 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.
  16. ^ Bevan, David (20 May 2009). "Kasabian, 'West Ryder Pauper Lunatic Asylum' (RCA)". Spin. SpinMedia. Retrieved 8 November 2015.
  17. ^ a b Sweeting, Adam (2 June 2009). "Kasabian - West Ryder Pauper Lunatic Asylum". Uncut. Time Inc. UK. Retrieved 8 November 2015.
  18. ^ "Kasabian - Biography, Links & song listing". J Play. Retrieved 27 April 2020.
  19. ^ "Australiancharts.com – Kasabian – West Ryder Pauper Lunatic Asylum". Hung Medien.
  20. ^ "Austriancharts.at – Kasabian – West Ryder Pauper Lunatic Asylum" (in German). Hung Medien.
  21. ^ "Dutchcharts.nl – Kasabian – West Ryder Pauper Lunatic Asylum" (in Dutch). Hung Medien.
  22. ^ "Lescharts.com – Kasabian – West Ryder Pauper Lunatic Asylum". Hung Medien.
  23. ^ "Charts.nz – Kasabian – West Ryder Pauper Lunatic Asylum". Hung Medien.
  24. ^ "Swisscharts.com – Kasabian – West Ryder Pauper Lunatic Asylum". Hung Medien.
  25. ^ "Kasabian | Artist | Official Charts". UK Albums Chart.
  26. ^ "Kasabian Chart History (Billboard 200)". Billboard.
  27. ^ "Kasabian Chart History (Independent Albums)". Billboard. Retrieved 19 September 2014.
  28. ^ "Kasabian Chart History (Top Rock Albums)". Billboard. Retrieved 19 September 2014.
  29. ^ Copsey, Rob (3 May 2017). "Kasabian's Official Top 10 biggest singles revealed". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 3 May 2017.
  30. ^ "British album certifications – Kasabian – Empire". British Phonographic Industry. Select albums in the Format field. Select Platinum in the Certification field. Type Empire in the "Search BPI Awards" field and then press Enter.