Kasabian: West Ryder Pauper Lunatic Asylum [****]

Less luddite than Oasis, bereft of Primal Scream’s snobbery, this is how a rock’n’roll band should sound today

Never underestimate a pretender. On their arrival, Kasabian’s adoration of Oasis, Primal Scream and the Stone Roses provided their detractors with plenty of ammunition.

Five years on, members of those bands might recognise something in Kasabian that their own groups lacked. Less luddite than Oasis, bereft of Primal Scream’s snobbery and — unlike the Stone Roses — boasting a singer who can sing, Kasabian have shaken off the psychic weight of their idols.

As a microcosm of the whole, the current single Vlad the Impaler is far from misleading. This third album sees sundry four-square temple-throbbers benefit from the cavalier use of phasers and digitised squelches from the Gorillaz and Dr Octagon producer Dan the Automator.

Setting aside a couple of tender turns, Tom Meighan sets his self-belief dial just a touch above stratospheric. For the listener, that means the guitarist and songwriter Serge Pizzorno is left to indulge his outermost lysergic boogie whims (Underdog) and raga-pop excesses (Secret Alphabets) — and it all still comes out sounding exactly how you want a rock’n’roll band to sound in 2009.



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