Wednesday, May 23, 2007
Look, I know that Johnny Borrell comes off as an arrogant prick at times. And I know that Razorlight’s first album, Up All Night, for all of its pop catchiness, rolling rhythms, and street-poet(ish) lyrics was hyped up well beyond what it deserved. But I can’t help but feeling that the distinctly sniffy reviews and opinions circulating around their second album, the eponymous Razorlight, are grossly unfair. Sure, lead single ‘America’ reeks of overstatement, but isn’t this the era of hyperbole and cliché? Doesn’t the song itself do a pretty good job of illuminating our fixation with America and the capitalist culture? For while Razorlight have stripped back the guitar, bass, and drum arrangements to produce something at odds with the prevalent indie culture of electro-New Rave (messy, spiky guitars layered with heavy bass lines and digital effects), this is at the very least refreshing, and at most, a musical springboard for lyrics that make the same socio-political cultural dissections as Bloc Party’s A Weekend in the City. I’m not saying what Razorlight are doing is profound or particularly innovative, then, (as with many fairly new bands, for example, there are plenty of overt nods to Talking Heads), but the haunting emptiness and throbbing chorus of a song like ‘I Can’t Stop This Feeling’ is still something pretty special. Borrell isn’t the Indie Messiah the music media portrays him as wanting to be (who knows how much actual truth to that there is), but Razorlight have got something interesting going on all the same. Don't you think?