Bullshit Detector - Razorlight.
Right. Let’s get one thing straight from the get go: I fucking hate Johnny Borrell. So why waste space bitching? Simple. Anti-hype.
The buzz wave smeared all over Borrell & his Scando session buddies has veered towards the sycophantic at times the incredulity has become unbearable. Borrell has ambition, you see. He wants to be BIG. He’s been listening to all the right historically credible records maybe he thinks the rest of us haven’t - & therefore won’t notice his re-appropriation of an earlier generation’s marvellous ideas. Borrell wants his voice to be as BIG as his group. He wants to make BIG music. He wants to be Mike Scott except The Waterboys aren’t quiet such a safe name to drop as Television.
So, it was with much hilarity that we approached the debut long player from Razorlight - & we weren’t disappointed - “Up All Night” is a startling exercise in plagiarism. The most fun we had with it was: spot the steal. All hail the thief in chief.
It’s all here the basic Libertines sound expanded & blanded to the point of flatulence. “Up All Night” is so clean it could be a roll model for Fairy Liquid. Over-produced, smooth & dressed with all the hallmarks of major label interference: horrible backing vocals, female backing singers, poor arrangements & vapid lyrics. I mean, would any lyric writer/poet worth their salt living in 2004 really attempt to rhyme ‘phone’ with ‘alone more than once on the same LP?
“Up All Night” is obviously packed with ‘hit’ 45s: the Television homage, “Rock N Roll Lies”, the touching tribute to Tom Verlaine, “Rip It Up”, the ‘fuck me I can really sing, I can’ torpor of “Stumble & Fall”, right down to the latest ‘smash’ the appallingly weak, “Golden Touch”. All would make wonderful Travis singles, or a top notch Coldplay EP or even a fine 5th Busted LP. “Up All Night” is shitty, watered down, inconsequential, pop pap of the most pretentious order.
I read some Razorlight fan mail recently that tried to prove the case for “Don’t Go Back To Dalston” being up there with the best that this generation is capable of. Are you fucking tapped, or what? Rock n Roll is supposed to be dangerous if your mum & dad dig it - then it’s shit (& I can imagine mums & dads buying “Up All Night” from Tesco in droves). Got it?
It doesn’t end there either. Not satisfied with pissing on the legacy of Television Borrell also ‘borrows’ the intro from The Cure’s “10:15 Saturday Night” for “Golden Touch” amongst a boat load of similar ‘steals’. The most laughable crime present on “Up All Night”, however, is entitled “In The City” (come on Weller, reach for the lawyer). To say it’s vaguely reminiscent of Patti Smith’s “Gloria” (with a lyrical motif stolen from Dylan) is a bit like saying George W Bush is a bit of a twat. I’m surprised the experienced bods @ Vertigo Records didn’t spot it @ the mixing stage or rejected it on submission for the sake of the labels ‘credibility’. “In The City” safely reduces “Up All Night” to parody - & we can only assume that Borrell is taking the piss out of himself (without realising it).
Razorlight are everything that is wrong with Rock n Roll in 2004. Fisherman’s Blues, the world famous Waterboys tribute act, are currently looking for a new Mike Scott. You never know, Johnny, it could be a career move with some longevity attached. After all, this Razorlight shit just ain’t working out. Is it?
Jean Encoule tMx 16 08/04