Exclusive: Kasabian Return to Action [Q Magazine May 2009]

“Mental” new album due for June release. Vlad the Impaler, a Hollywood starlet and mind-bending techno grooves on the menu.

Kasabian are putting the finishing touches to their new album, which Meighan claims “will put the fear into the people”. Titled The West Ryder Pauper Lunatic Asylum, it will be released on 8 June.

Listening to the album it’s clear the band have moved on from the electro-rock of their self-titled debut and its follow-up, 2006’s Empire’s glam-punk swagger. Far more ambitious, The West Ryder… finds soulful brass sections [Take Aim] sitting alongside psychedelic whimsey [Thick as Theives, West Ryder/Silver Bullet], and a duet with actress Rosario Dawson, The Sin City star was approached by a mutual friend and to the band’s evident surprised agreed to appear. “We’ll bend minds with that song,” says guitarist and principal songwriter Sergio Pizzorno. “Nobody would have though we’d do a duet, least of all with a Hollywood actress.”

Work began in August 2007 when, after four years of touring, Pizzorno returned to his Leicester home. By that November, he had a set of demos inspired by spaghetti western soundtracks and “Rolling Stones” ’70s New York Period”.

“I wanted to record an album that sounded soulful like a ’60s psychedelic record, but futuristic at the same time,” he says.

The rest of the band joined him at their Leicester recording space in January 2008 and by May had recorded 16 tracks. Pizzorno says the band’s label wanted to release these songs, but resisted as the album “was only 60 per cent done”,

Kasabian road-tested the new tracks during a Japanese tour and at last summer’s Creamfields festival appearance. Pizzorno then recruited erstwhile Gorillaz collaborator Dan The Automator to help with the final mixes. “I’d been a fan since he worked on DJ Shadow’s Endtroducing,” Pizzorno says. “He brought density to the record. It has a hip-hop ear.”

The groove-laden Vlad The Impaler is the album’s most disorientating track, bolting pulsing guitar and off-kilter rhythms to machine-gun vocals. “It’s a techno-punk song,” says Meighan. “We’re never going to write a record that’s as soft as teacakes.” And alternative version of the track will be released as a free download, available from the band’s website for one day only on 26 April. The heaving Fire, the first single proper, follows on 25 May.

With headline sets at The Great Escape festival on 16 May and Cornwall’s Eden Sessions on 4 July, and a support slot on Oasis’ stadium dates, Kasabian will be unavoidable this summer. “We wanted to smash it,” says Meighan. “We’ve been written off as a lad band, but we’ll be around for the next 20 years…Unless someone croaks it”

Q Magazine May 2009

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