Razorlight - Slipway Fires (2008)
Star Rating: 5/5
Razorlight's 2008 album, Slipway Fires, did not garner the success or recognition that frontman Johnny Borrell would have hoped. In large part the album has been ignored, which is most likely the driving factor behind the band's ten year break until their 2018 follow up, Olympus Sleeping. While only two singles were released, an indication of how the band felt about its own tunes, there is a real substance under the surface.
When an artist decides to create something it isn't a passive event. One must believe in the music and product being made. That passion and momentum can be felt on this effort and reflects a maturity that may have been lost on some listeners.
Top Tracks & Takeaways
The best song on the album may be "You and the Rest". It features simple chords, and an earnest Borrell debating himself. Such introspection rarely gets a score of this caliber. The song begins with sticks clacking on the rims of the snare and a plucky two chord intro. The chorus becomes more emotional with a stepping chord set to introduce us to the minor side of the key. The climax has a desperate Johnny finally see his "enemy appearing" only to realize he was his own nemesis the entire time.
"Wire to Wire" is the lead single with an accompanying video and live performances on TV. It departs from previous work by Razorlight with emotional piano, choirs, and a slower heavy beat with an urgency that is fresh and new. It is another reprise on love that attempts to describe Johnny's feelings while keeping things vague and universal as he is wont to do. It includes questions and phrases that nod to other songs on the album, and the callbacks demonstrate mastery. "Where the wild blood flows", "House full of rust", and "Looking for someone you can trust" are all featured at least in part on other tunes in this compilation.
"Burberry Blue Eyes" is this reviewer's favorite track on the album. It's a barbed retelling of the story of a rich girl who is bored and living a self-destructive lifestyle. The sordid protagonist lives an exaggerated and lonely life, filling it with sex, parties, and gossip. The beat and melody are exciting, but the overall feel is melancholy and it feels as though Johnny is singing to her knowing she won't listen.
What we liked
Slipway Fires represents a return to the angsty drive that we heard in Up All Night. The final result is more polished, however, and a certain quality of maturity pulls through.
Not so much...
"Stinger" is overwrought and a bit annoying. I like to hear Borrell shout as much as the next guy, but this song is just not for me.
Videos and Singles
Wire to Wire
Overall we love this album here at Demo Digger. If you only hear one track, let it be "Wire to Wire". When you're looking to dive deeper you'll find a host of cool tunes to get into on this album. We award it five stars out of five for an earnest effort.
Wire to Wire
Hostage of Love
You and the Rest
North London Trash
Burberry Blue Eyes
Blood for Wild Blood
Where The Frequencies Run Deep and Wild