Kasabian are the lunatics at the fringe of rock

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For all their swagger, Leicester lads Kasabian are a little insecure. Chatting to frontman Tom Meighan, Metro notes the charming arrogance is there in spades, but there’s plenty of self-vindication going on, too; Meighan is keen to hammer home just how big Kasabian are, and are going to be, in the history of British rock’n’roll bands.

‘We’re a great f***ing English band,’ he grins. ‘We’ve made the best record we could have made for a band of our stature. There’s nothing like it out there; it’s a 21st-century rock’n’roll album.’

Kasabian’s third LP, the brilliantly titled West Ryder Pauper Lunatic Asylum, is a mash-up of classic rock’n’roll ethos, stomping beats and mellow grooves. It’s a smashing album, endlessly listenable and oozing Britrock cool – even if, for all Meighan’s claims to darkness, it’s about as edgy as a guinea pig.

‘I’ve got long hair now and I shampoo and condition it every day,’ says the singer proudly.

Kasabian might not be dangerous, but they are talented. Serge Pizzorno, the band’s guitarist, wrote West Ryder… a while back, before deciding to take the whole shebang to Dan The Automator, hip hop producer for the likes of Gorillaz and Beck.

The result isn’t Kasabian do Wu Tang Clan, but the rawness of 2004’s eponymous debut and 2006’s Empire has been replaced with smoother synths and beats.

‘It’s just an extra pair of ears,’ says Meighan. ‘He’s made the album sound different from the other albums. He was just a cool cat. ‘All the songs have something to say. Thick As Thieves is very dark and beautiful and mystical. We’ve not completely mellowed out but we’ve definitely grown up.’ He’s right. West Ryder… is a step on, musically and lyrically. Where Did All The Love Go? has the line ‘whatever happened to the youth of this generation?’; it might be the image people always have when they’re looking at kids, but it’s a view that strikes a chord with Meighan.

‘They’ve got no respect; they’re horrible little bastards. I’m not oldfashioned – I grew up in the ’90s; I was born in the ’80s. But England is a s***hole.

‘Patriotic about England? I’m f***ing Irish. We’re not into St George’s Day or waving flags,’ he rages, but quickly calms down.

‘We’ve got an English essence and we’re an English rock’n’roll band and all the greatest rock’n’roll bands have been from the UK. It’s just that everyone’s a bit down and the politics have been handled like s***.’

It would take great effort not to warm to Meighan; he’s a sweet gobon- a-stick and very entertaining, blurting out statements and then thinking about them. Oasis comparisons are rife and there’s no doubt Meighan’s the Liam of the operation to Pizzorno’s Noel. ‘I think we’re the biggest underground commercial band ever,’ he boasts.

‘We don’t suck corporate c***.’ That might sound contradictory, coming from someone in a band signed to Columbia and making some of the most accessible dance-rock out there, but being slightly bipolar is part of Kasabian’s appeal. Hence the album title and the undertones of Victorian madness that dominate the cover art.

‘It’s that borderline schizophrenia,’ says Meighan. ‘We’ve all got it. And we’ve got songs like [recent single] Fire: one minute it’s nice and easy, the next you’ve got a pick-axe in your hand. We’re all schiz; I’m schiz, you’re schiz, I bet the Queen’s schiz. I bet she gets really angry and gives old whatnot a kick in the nuts.’

West Ryder Pauper Lunatic Asylum (Columbia) is out on Mon

http://www.metro.co.uk/

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