First Appeared in The Music Box, September 2006, Volume 13, #9
Written by John Metzger
While Razorlight’s debut Up All Night didn’t quite live up to the "masterpiece" status with which it was pegged by front man Johnny Borrell, its fusion of pop hooks and gutsy, rock star attitude was enough to at least make the album interesting. Tired, perhaps, of the many, much deserved comparisons to The Strokes and The Libertines, Razorlight shifted directions for its self-titled, sophomore effort by trading its ’70s street cred for an ’80s alt-rock shine, but the results are less than satisfying. On Before I Fall to Pieces, for example, the group buries the arena-ready bombast of The Who inside a glossy arrangement that was plucked directly from Katrina & the Waves, and although Pop Song 2006 is an homage of sorts to the Talking Heads, it ultimately falls flat. Elsewhere, the ensemble attempts to broaden its sound by dabbling in the ’50s-derived soul of Who Needs Love?, but the comparisons to lightweight acts such as General Public and Fine Young Cannibals are difficult to shake. Granted, the twitchy energy that drove Up All Night still resonates beneath the surface of tracks like In the Morning and Kirby’s House, but the manner in which they falter is indicative of the problems with the eponymous album as a whole. Simply put, Razorlight’s material has been polished to the point of sterility, which inevitably serves to hang Borrell’s run-of-the-mill lyrics out to dry.
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1 Star: Pitiful
2 Stars: Listenable
3 Stars: Respectable
4 Stars: Excellent
5 Stars: Can't Live Without It!!
Copyright © 2006 The Music Box