Razorlight Razorlight

It’s so easy to become a rock star these days. Just ask Johnny Borrell. Two years ago, the singer/songwriter/guitarist of London-based Razorlight became an overnight pop sensation in Britain when he declared himself as talented as Bob Dylan and his band’s debut Up All Night eclipsed the chart success of his old band, the Libertines (whom he played guitar in for a mere two weeks). With a gob the size of Big Ben, Borrell has made himself out to be the songwriter for today’s generation, but all this sophomore record proves is how useful the words "don’t believe the hype” are when you need them. Whereas the band’s debut was a vintage ’70s rock’n’roll rave-up in the same sense as the Strokes’ far superior Is This It, Razorlight finds Borrell and his gang trying their hand at making music "that matters.” However, they lack the sincerity of Springsteen — who Borrell so obviously admires these days — and the songs achieve the exact opposite. Borrell’s songwriting is quickly exposed for the pretence that it is as he preaches like some kind of almighty saviour hanging from a cross. "America” appears to be the all-important centrepiece of the album, but instead of turning the song into a significant commentary on troubled times, the front-man assumes a patronising stance and debases the nation that caused him grief during Razorlight’s disastrous tour in 2004. Despite selling a million records and becoming superstars in the UK, all Razorlight proves is how foolish the British public can be when deciding to make a mediocre songwriter famous. Remember, they’re responsible for the pop careers of Crazy Frog, Bob the Builder and of course, Cliff Richard. (Universal)