It takes a brave, some would suggest stupid, man to walk away from a band enjoying huge commercial success, but that is exactly what Andy Burrows did in 2009 when he departed Razorlight. More than just a man behind a drum kit, he co-wrote the ubiquitous 'America', an indication of his song-writing ability and ambitions. 'Fall Together Again' is his tenth album and will be supported with a handful of UK dates before he heads to mainland Europe.
The opening 'Derwen' is a rich, string-laden intro that is all but instrumental, with perhaps the greatest compliment being that it should have been developed into a full song. Lead single 'As Good As Good' then sets the tone of fabulously melodic pop, which in this case is fused with a touch of funk. For those unfamiliar with him as a vocalist, Burrows also displays ability that fully justifies the decision to step out from the back of the stage. At softer points, he is similar to Badly Drawn Boy, but he possesses the ability to take his voice to the top range of a choir boy. It is further demonstrated on the breezy 'City To Coast', whilst 'All This I've Heard Before' has anthemic quality to continue the momentum.
It's not unusual for records to load the better songs toward their front end, resulting in the album quality tailing off into mediocrity or worse. Not here. 'Who Are You Now?' sounds like it could have been released in the New Romantics era, shimmering as Burrows hits an unexpected falsetto, before rolling into the warmth of 'See A Girl'. The bar is further raised with the emotive 'Watch Me Fall', which takes a more synthesised tone, yet the feeling it generates couldn't be any more organic. Burrows' encapsulating voice again takes centre stage on the stripped-back 'Hearts And Minds', whilst the closing 'Don't Be Gone Too Long' is an appropriate finale where the artist manages to turn melancholy into optimism. Given his past affiliations, you'd be forgiven for approaching this release expecting guitar based rock music, in which case you could be disappointed. Where Burrows hasn't let anyone down is in producing a proudly melodic collection of mature pop songs that, at its worst, is good and, at its best, is brilliant.
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