Published Jan 01, 2006When the UK press sink their teeth into a new favourite band, theres a good chance its something worth hearing (i.e., the Strokes), but theyre 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 bands debut album better than Bob Dylans and had an unmatched fervent drive to take his band to the top. With that in mind, Razorlights 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 rocknroll. Theres 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 its devoid of any attempt to be something theyre 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. Borrells 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 didnt work; it was a personal chemistry thing. Hes a nice guy, but it just didnt 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 couldnt do that.
Do you think Johnnys brief membership in the Libertines has distorted peoples perception of the band? Some people think were just some Libertines offshoot. He was actually in the Libertines for a week. The bad thing is some might think were just some second-rate Libertines and that hes bitter about being kicked out so hes formed his own band, but thats not the case. I think weve shaken it completely and were a band in our own right now. (Universal)