Review of Razorlight's new album 'Slipway Fires'.
Few modern musicians divide opinion as much as Johnny Borrell, if not due to his ability then because of his outspoken confidence. The band's self-titled second album hinted at an act breaking away from being just another member of the indie-rock fraternity, with the likes of 'America' and 'Los Angeles Waltz' showcasing great song writing ability.
Those who have heard lead single and album opener 'Wire To Wire' will already have an idea of where Razorlight have headed on their latest release. Its haunting piano line, slow pace and vocal gymnastics are far from a traditional comeback release, but given a few listens it becomes engrossing. This is a band that has ripped up their rule book and is (successfully) trying something new, forsaking usual song structure on 'You And The Rest' and '60 Thompson' for a sound more intricate arrangements that compliment Borrell's emotive vocals. Rather than producing songs for an audience sing-along, this is a collection to be listened to, with 'Stinger' and closing number 'The House' slowly running through but at all times demanding your attention.
Anyone worried that the album is lacking in fun need not worry, 'Burberry Blue Eyes' is classic pop, while 'Tabloid Lover' is an insanely catchy anthem in the making that will sit well along the likes of 'In The Morning' and 'Vice' in the live set. Throughout Borrell adds further evidence to claims of his great song writing and no more explicitly than on 'North London Trash', which has a similar charm to Oasis' 'The Importance Of Being Idle' and brilliantly gives insight into the trappings of being in the spotlight for someone from more humble beginnings. Like much of the record it doesn't immediately scream 'big hit single', but given a proper listen it is greatly rewarding. Excitingly, it also hints that there could be so much more to come from an act that is already head and shoulders above many of their peers.