red lights


Razorlight lacks any real edge

Razorlight - Razorlight
(Mercury Records)
2 stars (out of 5 stars)
Reviewed: Jan. 19, 2007

Review by Tony Bonyata

Led by the outspoken frontman / guitarist Johnny Borrell, the Anglo-Swedish quartet Razorlight like to think of themselves as a hip, dangerous, cutting-edge rock band. What their latest self-titled sophomore effort proves, however, is that they're little more than a competent band churning out sub-standard rock fare with not one iota of spark, attitude or imagination.

From The OC-ready safe and snappy pop of opening track "In The Morning" and "Pop Song 2006" (the latter a nod to R.E.M.'s "Pop Song 89"), both complete with angular Strokes-like guitars, and the listless goose-stepping pop of "Hold On" to the flag-waving U2 arena rock of "America" to the sleepy closing ballad "Los Angeles Waltz," there's nothing all that seriously wrong with this album - other than there's nothing seriously original or interesting here.

Borrell's vocals are fine for MOR rock, but lack both depth and, even more so, any sense of real passion, and try as they may - even with a good running start - the rhythm section never quite takes off, as it occasionally builds up steam but then doubles over as if to catch it's breath. Even the interplay between Swedish-born Bjorn Agren and Borrell's guitars never cut deeper than a minor flesh abrasion, making their second outing as dangerous as an attack from a plastic butter knife.

There are a couple of moments that manage to stand out, however, as witnessed on the slightly spirited "Before I Fall To Pieces" and the punchy, reggae-infused "Back To The Start." There's also a reasonably good hook here and chorus there, but, ultimately, this album is cluttered with predictable, safe and disposable pop rock that proves the edge of this razor's not only light, but downright dull.

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