Razorlight Up All Night

Razorlight Up All Night
When the UK press sink their teeth into a new favourite band, there’s a good chance it’s something worth hearing (i.e., the Strokes), but they’re not always reliable (i.e., Jet). Razorlight were almost too perfect when they first appeared. Their young and arrogant songwriter Johnny Borrell was briefly a member of the Libertines, confidently proclaimed the band’s debut album better than Bob Dylan’s and had an unmatched fervent drive to take his band to the top. With that in mind, Razorlight’s debut has a lot to live up to. Luckily for Borrell, his ass can actually cash some of those cheques because Up All Night is a potent expression of ballsy, vigorous rock’n’roll. There’s no denying the band (including Björn Ågren, Carl Dalemo and Andy Burrows) have taken notes from NYC heroes like Lou Reed, Television, Lenny Kaye and even the Strokes, but it’s devoid of any attempt to be something they’re not. Songs like "Stumble & Fall” and "Rip It Up” are stripped-down, raucous anthems that devote as much attention to the off-timed rhythms as they do to their fabulously jagged guitar solos. Borrell’s shining moments, however, come in the form of the catchy and simple "Golden Touch” and the emotive "Vice,” a song that ends with Borrell evangelically pleading his case against "L.O.V.E.” These two examples alone show he has the ability to become a successful and worthy songwriter, but another Dylan? Not quite.

Steve Lillywhite (U2, Peter Gabriel) produced the first few singles and was supposed to produce the record. What happened with that? Guitarist Ågren: We actually recorded the basic tracks of the entire album with him. It just didn’t work; it was a personal chemistry thing. He’s a nice guy, but it just didn’t sound right. It was a bit too clean and we really wanted the sound of four people in a room and have the sound gel, like there is no mistake that there is a band playing the whole fucking thing live. He just couldn’t do that.

Do you think Johnny’s brief membership in the Libertines has distorted people’s perception of the band? Some people think we’re just some Libertines offshoot. He was actually in the Libertines for a week. The bad thing is some might think we’re just some second-rate Libertines and that he’s bitter about being kicked out so he’s formed his own band, but that’s not the case. I think we’ve shaken it completely and we’re a band in our own right now. (Universal)