RazorLight - The Eponymous Second Album

Mουσική : Μουσικά νέα - Συναυλίες - Δισκογραφία

Two years ago, Razorlight demonstrated in their million selling debut album ‘Up All Night’ that they were not only able to provide the stuff of great magazine copy but musically they could prove to all the doubting Thomas’ that their talent and ambition went way beyond anything anyone was expecting. Now, with their eponymously named follow-up album Johnny, Andy, Björn and Carl have set themselves new and higher targets. They are back as a more cohesive entity who have channelled their talents to make this sophomore release a brilliant return to centre stage.

Produced by veteran, ‘superstar’ producer Chris Thomas (The Beatles, Pink Floyd, Roxy Music, The Pretenders, Pulp) the album is a journey on from the debut. Songs like ‘Before I Fall To Pieces’ and first single ‘In The Morning’ are the bridge between albums. ‘Who Needs Love?’ is the natural first-cousin to Vice but the real development and maturity in song writing lie in possible future classics ‘America’, ‘I Can’t Stop This Feeling I’ve Got’ and ‘Los Angeles Waltz’.

Unlike the first album, this second recording is very much a joint project. The arrival of ‘new boy’ Andy Burrows has brought the band not only a brilliant drummer but Burrows’, natural musicality and charm have made him the fulcrum of the band and co-writer on several of the album tracks. Guitarist Björn Ågren and fellow swede Carl Dalemo on bass have stamped their mark all over this record. Ågren composing and playing piano and keyboard parts that enhance the Razorlight sound, coupled with sometimes deeply intricate guitar parts that reflect Björn’s sweet and thoughtful persona. The Dynamo-Dalemo, as he is affectionately known, meanwhile is a schizo delight lurking in the rhythm section, swinging wildly from punk to deep funk with his ceaseless driving bass.

It’s as a live band that their talents shine forth the most. If you can tear your eyes away from Borrell, it is a joy to watch all the members of Razorlight demonstrating their stagecraft. Like prime athletes, they are a band at the top of their game. So to album opener, ‘In The Morning’. The music was originally conceived as the sound-bed for the Spring / Summer 2005 Dior Homme show in Paris and commissioned by Dior wünderkind Hedi Slimane. As a whopping 22 minute long rhythmic exploration, it was apparent to the band that given the Razorlight treatment it could be honed to the lean, mean opening three and a half minute single, it has become.

‘Who Needs Love?’ has all the charm of a fifties rock ‘n’ roll ballad, complete with sweet harmonies. The cynicism and world weariness of the lyrics is charmingly tempered with the doo-wop swing of the melody. Number three; ‘Hold On’ was one of the last of the album’s ten tracks to be completed. Its stomping Motown groove is the perfect counterpoint to “big single contender” and track number four ‘America’- A double-edged love song where the lyrics mirror the pitfalls and high points of an affair. An ambitious, epic, beautiful and heart breaking song, ‘America’ recalls the best of late seventies and early eighties pop rock and is undoubtedly one of the album’s high points.

The halfway stage of the album is ‘Before I Fall To Pieces’ a Borrell & Burrows collaboration. Chock full of sunshine, the sunny disposition of the melody belies the sentiment of the lyric. Track number six ‘I Can’t Stop This Feeling I’ve Got’ is according to Borrell, this album’s ‘Up All Night’; the heart of the second album. Co-written, this time, by Borrell and guitarist Björn Ågren, it is poetically poignant and melodically huge. ‘Pop Song 2006’ comes next, perhaps with a nod and a wink to Springsteen it leads into the new album version of ‘Kirby’s House’ originally released on the massive 2005 War Child album, ‘Kirby’s House’ was the biggest selling download from the charity record. Re-examined for the album and with a changed tempo, the songs have transformed into this new, sweet lullaby. The penultimate song on the album is the skank rock of ‘Back To The Start’, perhaps an ironic statement in itself as it seems to be the song closest to it’s first album predecessors. It lopes and shimmers into the tenth and closing track of this Razorlight’s second album: ‘Los Angeles Waltz’. This farewell song for the record is quite simply, heartbreakingly beautiful. A hugely evocative song, playing with reminiscences of the first summer of love, Californian psychedelia and the perfect showcase for the epic resonance of Borrell’s voice.

As a band who have a broad range of personalities and consequently have always been influenced by and compared to a huge spectrum of inspirations, it was inevitable that the follow up Razorlight album could never be a reworking of their first.

Two years on from their classic first album start, Razorlight have now made their definitive statement.

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