Kasabian: West Ryder Pauper Lunatic Asylum

Today’s album review is brought to you by the medium of Excel Charts. I have ranked the first three Kasabian and Kaiser Chiefs albums and determined the following trend lines for both bands:

As can clearly be seen, despite a strong opening album by the Kaiser Chiefs, the gradual steady increase in quality of Kasabian’s output has caused the trend lines to cross in 2006 now giving them a clear lead .

Good work lads, great album. Stand out tracks include:

Where Did Our Love Go?
Fast Fuse
Take Aim (which includes a synthesiser that is evocative of Jeff Wayne’s Martians)
West Ryder Silver Bullet

Chickenfoot: Chickenfoot

Super Groups seldom live up to the sum of their constituent parts, let alone exceed it. Chikenfoot are a real super group and as such the sum of their impressive line-up is large.

Joe Satriani
Chad Smith (Red Hot Chilli Peppers)
Michael Anthony (Van Halen)
Sammy Hagar (Van Halen, Montrose, Solo)

With scorching Satriani guitar solos and great vocals from the Red Rocker himself it does indeed add up to an impressive package. They sound like their having fun too, nothing too over-produced or orchestrated, simply live jamming rock n roll the way its meant to be.

Equal to the sum of it parts, but not greater, but that’s still a lot.

Jarvis Cocker: Further Complications

This is easily Cocker’s best work since Pulp released Different Class way back in 1995. Cocker’s distinctive voice ensures there’s plenty of Pulp parallels in this album, but there’s a stronger, quirkier and perhaps rockier thing going on here too that evoke early Roxy Music albums, especially tracks like “Homewrecker!”

“Leftover” contains my favourite opening lyric of the year so far: “I met her at the museum of palaeontology. And I make no bones about it”. The song has a very Pulp-like chorus consisting of a pause followed by three sharp drumbeats that you just have to drum along to. If you see someone on the tube hitting an invisible drum in the air three times in quick succession, chances are there listening to this song on their iPod. This track also includes the following line that also tickled me: “He says he loves you like a sister, well I guess, I guess that’s relative”.

The title track and album opener is a fast paced romp with an uncomplicated recurring guitar riff. The guitar riff and slow wind down at the end of the track reminded me a little of the first Devo album. Anybody else out there buy that?

“Angela” is very much an old school sub 3-minute rock number with Jagger styled handclaps and lashings of treble.

I’m no going to go through all the tracks here but “Pilchard”, Fuckingsong” are also superb. This is a buyer not just a free downloader from The Pirate Bay.

Joe Bonamassa: The Ballad of John Henry

Don’t you just love it when someone lends you a CD of someone you’ve never heard of that they think you might like, and it turns out to be a real gem? This is one such album. Joe Bonamassa may only have been born in 1977, but his blues-rock style has clearly been influenced by those eminent British Blues Rock aficionados of the late 60’s (Beck, Page, Clapton, Green, Kossof, Mayall). “The Ballad of John Henry” is in fact Bonamassa’s 9th official release, which means I have a bit of catching up to do on his back catalogue.

The title track at the top of the album sets the standard of stonking blues with its solid riff, clanking chains and string orchestration that could augment Zeppelin’s Kashmir.

After the self-penned opener, we move to a cover of Sam Brown’s 1989 classic, “Stop”. The extended outro compliments an already fabulous song with Jeff Healey like guitar work.

“The Great Flood” is a slow blues number that draws strong comparisons with Gary Moore, it builds up slowly to that crisp clean guitar solo emphasising each perfect squealing note. A return guitar solo at the end of the track is accompanied by a saxophone that would have been at home on Rogers’ “Pros and Con’s of Hitch Hiking”.

Although, I’ve only really covered 3 tracks, I could have picked on any three, as there’s no chuff on this album. Before finishing up I’ll just bandy about a few more names: Rory Gallagher, Stevie Ray Vaughan, BB King, Albert Collins, and Muddy Waters. If any of those names mean anything to you, then you should really check out this album.