West Ryder Pauper Lunatic Asylum is Kasabian's third studio album. It was released on 8 June 2009 and peaked at #1 in the UK charts.



After recording Empire very quickly, Kasabian chose to take more time off to make its follow-up album, starting in early 2008 in the band's own studio in Leicester, E-Land Mig, and then travelling to San Francisco around August to work with producer Dan the Automator and record the vocals. The entire creation process took about nine months and the album was finished in December 2008 in New York, after which it was decided not to release it until June because the songs were "summer tunes."[1]

About the decision to work with Dan the Automator Serge explained that they "wanted someone else's ear" and that they couldn't get a rock producer because the music on the album wouldn't have made sense to him, it had to be a hip hop producer to give the songs the impact they needed.[1] Speaking about the production to BBC 6 Music, Tom said: "We mostly did it ourselves and he put the coating on the top, gave us a new direction and stuff."[2]

Described as "the soundtrack to an imaginary movie" and classified by Kasabian as "21st century rock 'n' roll", West Ryder Pauper Lunatic Asylum and its madness are, according to Serge, a reaction against being told that after having a #1 album with Empire they should be taking things more seriously, especially on the strategically important third record.[3]


The album's title was revealed on 5 March 2009. It is named after the West Riding Pauper Lunatic Asylum in Menston, Yorkshire, part of which was later known as High Royds Hospital until its closure in 2003. Serge saw a documentary called A History of the Madhouse about this asylum and liked the name so much that he decided to use it. The album, however, is not about the place. "I love the way it looked and the feeling it evokes," Serge told NME.[4] In an interview with Xfm he explained that they wanted to "set it apart from anything else around" and give it a 60s feeling, referring to album titles like the Small Faces' Ogdens' Nut Gone Flake or The Rolling Stones' Their Satanic Majesties Request.[1] "If you call an album that it pretty much gives you the freedom to go wherever you want," he said.[5]


West Ryder Pauper Lunatic Asylum - 12

The artwork was created by director WIZ, who also took the cover photograph, making West Ryder Pauper Lunatic Asylum the first release to depict the members of the band on the cover. It shows them as inmates "dressed up for a party at the asylum." Serge cited Amon Düül II's Made in Germany as an inspiration for the cover, saying "I wanted to do something in that tradition. I just thought, bands don't really do covers like that any more. Admittedly, some people might think we look really silly, but for me I just think it really works."[4] It won an NME Award for best artwork in 2010.[6]


As a teaser for the album, Kasabian made Vlad The Impaler available as a free download between 31 March and 3 April 2009, together with its video.[7] In May 2009 the West Ryder EP, containing three songs from the album, was given away with the June issue of the German music magazine Musikexpress.[8] After Thick As Thieves and Fire had already been performed in 2008, and Fast Fuse as early as 2007, the majority of the album tracks were debuted live between March and June 2009.


The album leaked on 23 May 2009. Fire was released as the first single on 1 June 2009, a week ahead of the album. West Ryder Pauper Lunatic Asylum was first released in Germany on 5 June 2009, on 8 June 2009 in the UK and a day later in the USA. Where Did All The Love Go? was released as the second single on 17 August 2009, followed by Underdog on 26 October 2009, as well as Vlad The Impaler on 15 February 2010.

West Ryder Pauper Lunatic Asylum became Kasabian's second consecutive #1 album, spending two weeks at the top of the charts.[9] In February 2010 the album was awarded double platinum status in the UK.[10]

In June 2010, West Ryder Pauper Lunatic Asylum was included in The Albums, a boxset consisting of Kasabian's first three albums. In September 2011 it was reissued in a bundle together with Empire as part of Sony's Two Original Albums series. In June 2012, three years after its original release, the album was reissued in Germany in a special digipack as part of Sony's London Rocks album series, coinciding with the London Olympics 2012.


  1. Underdog
  2. Where Did All The Love Go?
  3. Swarfiga
  4. Fast Fuse
  5. Take Aim
  6. Thick As Thieves
  7. West Ryder Silver Bullet
  8. Vlad The Impaler
  9. Ladies And Gentlemen (Roll The Dice)
  10. Secret Alphabets
  11. Fire
  12. Happiness



  • Tom Meighan (Vocals)
  • Sergio Pizzorno (Guitars, vocals, production)
  • Chris Edwards (Bass)
  • Ian Matthews (Drums)

Additional musicians

  • Jason Mehler (Additional guitar on tracks 1, 9 and 12)
  • Ben Kealey (Additional keyboards on track 9)
  • Gary Alesbrook (Trumpet)
  • Dan Ralph Martin (Additional guitar on track 4, piano on track 12)
  • Tim Carter (Additional guitar, keyboards and percussion)
  • Rosario Dawson (Guest vocals on track 7)
  • Wired Strings (Strings)

Technical staff

  • Dan the Automator (Production)
  • Tim Carter (Engineering)
  • Marc Senesac (Mix engineering)
  • Howie Weinberg (Mastering)
  • Rosie Danvers (Arrangement - Strings)
  • Jim Abiss (Recording - Strings)
  • Andrew Whiston (Artwork, photography)
  • Tom Skipp (Design)


Chart performanceEdit

Country Peak
UK 1
Australia 11
Ireland 4
France 30
Japan 11
New Zealand 23
Germany 53
Switzerland 27
Austria 56
Belgium (Wallonia) 94
The Netherlands 85
Spain 92
Greece 48
USA 126


Main article: Awards and Nominations

In 2009 and 2010 West Ryder Pauper Lunatic Asylum was nominated for a Brit Award, a MOJO Award, a Virgin Media Music Award, a Meteor Music Award and the Barclaycard Mercury Prize. It won Best Album at the NME Awards and the Q Awards. Additionally, Fire won Song of the Year at the MOJO Awards, was nominated for Best Video at the NME Awards and Best Track at the Q Awards. Underdog was nominated as Festival Anthem of the Year at the European Festival Awards. The free download of Vlad The Impaler received a nomination in the Giving It Back category at the NME Awards.


Main article: West Ryder Pauper Lunatic Asylum Tour

Following a handful of UK gigs and festival appearances throughout 2008, the West Ryder Pauper Lunatic Asylum tour started on 23 March 2009 in Margate, England and ended at V Festival, Chelmsford, England on 22 August 2010, covering 20 countries in between.


"You hear it in a row. It takes you places and you build pictures in your head. It's a real journey and it also will fill a dance floor. It's about people joining in and I think that's what we're about."
— Serge (BBC 6 Music, 5 January 2009)
"I wanted to record an album that sounded soulful like a 60s psychedelic record, but futuristic at the same time."
— Serge (Q Magazine, May 2009)
"We want to encourage people to listen to it as whole. At the moment people are being encouraged to pay seventy nine pence to download one song, and I think that really underestimates what genuine music fans want to listen to. We wanted to make an album which takes the listener on a journey."
— Serge (West Ryder Pauper Lunatic Asylum Press Release)
"The idea of madness was what attracted me. There's a fine line between genius and madness. It only takes a twig to snap and you're gone, y'know?"
— Serge (ShortList, 4 June 2009)



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