All my life, watching America

I thought Razorlight's first album, Up All Night, was a bit rubbish. It was TOO debut album-y (song titles like Rip It Up, Vice, In The City, etc) had didn't really have any substance. And their singer Johnny Borrell always comes across as a bit of a knob - he once said "If Dylan's making the chips then I'm drinking the champagne." My impression has always been that they're a sub-Libertines band doing a Strokes impression.

(Edit: To affirm his "being a knob" status, listen to Johnny talk about the album on XFM here. Apparently the music scene in London is now totally different from three years ago, there's no creativity any more, and every new band owes him a fiver)

Anyway, they've got a new record out, called Razorlight. The first single is kind of lame, but the rest of it is pretty good. It's mature, confident and has a really strong Springsteen/U2 vibe. It's an album that moves out of the narrow confines of East London where Up All Night was rooted, and it's much better for it. It's still not a great record - his voice still rubs me the wrong way, and 'Back to the Start' and 'Fall to Pieces' belong on the last album. But 'Los Angeles Waltz' is easily the best song they've ever written, not just because it namechecks Turnpike Lane (five stops on the Tube from me). There's nothing on this album with the instant radio-appeal of 'Golden Touch', but who cares? Kudos for making me change my opinion.

[download razorlight - los angeles waltz]


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