Maybe it's all the Charlie Brooker that I've been reading lately, but ever since I was given the task of reviewing Razorlight's third offering Slipway Fires, I've been rubbing my hands together with glee and trying to come up with suitably caustic putdowns to describe it. "The musical equivalent of having a man with an annoying haircut and too-tight jeans vomiting down your Eustachian tubes" was one that I came up with. "Teeming with the sort of self-importance one generally expects from a Jehovah's Witness at an Atheist convention" was another. Then I actually listened to the album, and discovered that it was completely undeserving of such vitriol. It's too bland to induce any sort of reaction in the listener - be it egregious or not - and perhaps that's the most discerning condemnation of the London quartet's latest release.
Wire To Wire opens the album with a quaint piano-based melody, which serves to inform us that Razorlight are maturing as a band and displaying an ability to reach out to their musical base. They're attempting to affect them with different styles and tempos of music, instead of just the paint-by-numbers catchy tunes that assaulted the radio waves in 2006. That is until a little while into the song, where lead singer Johnny Borrell casually implores the listener to "love me, again and again" in the sort of falsetto voice improbable this side of castration. Back to business as usual, then.
This isn't the worst thing you'll hear this year. It's not even close to being the worst new release this month. You've heard this album before, many times over, though - and if you liked Razorlight's previous material, odds are you'll like this one too. I just can't seem to identify with this album enough to form any sort of tangible relationship with it and, whether the blame for that lies with my musical tastes or at the pen of Johnny Borrell, one thing is for sure: as soon as I submit this review I'm never going to think about Slipway Fires ever again.