I don’t like Razorlight’s music much. It’s worth mentioning this for context, and I’ve said it once now. Andy Burrows is the drummer from Razorlight (that’s the tag on his MySpace in fact). Yet his debut album has raised my mood massively. It comprises eleven songs of lovely folk-pop in thirteen minutes. Burrows’ acoustic guitar and vocals template lands him somewhere in between Elliot Smith, Ralph McTell, George Harrison and Paul Simon. Burrows’ describes himself as “not much of a wordsmith,” so he turned to the illustrated poems of childhood family friends Peter Dixon and David Thomas, setting them to music while playing with GarageBand.
The recordings sounded good, so he kept going. In the meantime, Naomi House, a hospice for life limited and terminally ill children in his hometown of Winchester, contacted the band to ask for their patronage after Burrows had previously mentioned them. As a result, The Colour of My Dreams is released to support the hospice’s appeal to finance a new centre geared specifically towards teenagers.
So far so worthy. There’s something extra though. It’s brilliant. This is genuinely funny, heart warming stuff. The arrangements are unembellished but addictive, and the words infuse children’s story participatory wit with a slightly manic spring. “Teacher Goodbye” pays tribute to a departing pregnant over-seer while hoping that confiscated football cards and candy will be relinquished upon her return. “Boxes” bemoans tidiness like poster paint Beatles. The title track tackles education difficulties with more intelligence than most two minute chunks on the subject. The protagonist is in a world of “real believe.” Peers “say that I’m dyslexic,” with the pay off “that’s a word they’ve just found out.” “Cuddle” evokes Roald Dahl’s The BFG and “Octopus’s Garden.” There’s a lot of wisdom to be gleaned from the tract; “I’d rather have a cuddle than ketchup, chips or peas, computer can be lovely but a cuddle’s what I need.”
The Colour of My Dreams deserves critical acclaim. It’s a great album that just happens to have been released for charity. This is definitely a record that warrants physical purchase. There are moments where people do good things because they think it’s the right thing to do, and it works. Burrows has played to his strengths and the resources available to him, creating something incredibly cool in the process. I’m inspired.
The Beatles – Abbey Road
Ralph McTell – The Streets of London
Elliot Smith – Figure 8