Razorlight Slipway Fires

I was pretty disappointed in Johnny Borrell when I first listened to Slipway Fires. There I was, all prepared to vent my anger at his self-pitying lyricism, arrogant vocals and London-centric songs when opening track "Wire To Wire" had the audacity to be pretty good. Thankfully, everything past the cringe-worthy "Hostage of Love" is as bad as I expected it to be, so I won't be getting an ulcer from repressing my rage. It might be a result of the singer's voice being so distinctive but I get the impression that Razorlight aren't moving forward as a band. They've ditched the pop hooks of "Stumble and Fall," leading you to believe that they're maturing but their new songs are still devoid of the depth and complexity that this would entail. Titles like "North London Trash" and "Burberry Blue Eyes" are not only tacky but now they're painfully irrelevant too, as the capital city buzz of the Libertines' day has passed by. "Stinger" is the one ray of light in an otherwise depressing release, as it's less about clichéd love and more about pure disdain. Call me a pessimist but you can only listen to trendy angst for so long and Razorlight have been peddling that for seven years now. Change the record, boys. (Mercury)