When Razorlight formed in 2002, their contagious beats and shuffling movements immediately struck a chord in UK rock fans, as well as becoming an immediate favorite of NME, Britain’s most beloved and/or loathed publication. The band continues to subscribe to a catchy pop/rock formula with some classic rock influence on their latest, self-titled release. Still present are principal hooks and melodic turns on the docket, with polished updates of classic sounds of bands like The Kinks and Todd Rundgren. What’s new this time around are retro-rock vignettes embossed in a light, dewy contemporary film.
The album achieves a modernized version of `60s rock similar to the way Robert Plant’s group The Honey Drippers revamped dancehall `50s rock in the mid-80s. Razorlight’s songs show an appreciation that today’s generation have for `60s rock, taking influences from both sides of the Atlantic. The album maintains an upbeat tempo, that is melodically blended and coagulates the chord changes with the smooth, precise brushstrokes of a Van Dyck painting, creating a stark chiaroscuro . The vocals tackle long lines on the tune “Los Angeles Waltz” and tight punches on the track “In The Morning,” Borrell’s voice keeping a diverse enough range to do its instrumental counterpart justice.
The music, itself, takes on a wide variety of sounds, as well. “Back To The Start” has bumps of Island beats while “Hold On” surfaces hard handclapping percussion fueled with a jubilant energy. The dotted keyboards on “America” and “Who Needs Love” are intoxicating, whereas on “Kirby’s House” they are submerged in a country/folk tint. The guitar motions are pliable, changing with the moods of the melody and taking on the forefront for “Before I Fall To Pieces” and a mellow trundle on “I Can’t Stop This Feeling I’ve Got.” The bass lines mesh into the fabric, thickening the rhythmic motions and broadening the depth of the beats.
The sound of Razorlight on their second outing has familiar aspects of ’60s rock and yet they are tailor fitted to Razorlight’s bounty. The songs on Razorlight are tuneful and give retro-rock a facelift without breaking the frame or distorting the vibe.