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The Bloody Classics - Razorlight

Razorlight Up All Night 2004, Vertigo Records

Track List

  1. Leave Me Alone

  2. Rock ‘N’ Roll Lies

  3. Vice

  4. Up All Night

  5. Which Way Is Out

  6. Rip It Up

  7. Don't Go Back to Dalston

  8. Golden Touch

  9. Stumble and Fall

  10. Get It and Go

  11. In the City

  12. To the Sea

  13. Fall, Fall, Fall

Razorlight’s lead singer Johnny Borrell formed his own band in 2002 after playing with a number of other London bands, most notably The Libertines. Razorlight’s debut Up All Night peaked at number 3 in the chart, it was re-released a year later including an extra track (the single Somewhere Else) and the re-release reached number 2.

The album begins with some pretty relaxed piano before the guitars kick in on Leave Me Alone. Razorlight are often compared with The Strokes and this is already very Strokes-like, very NYC indie. It’s not the most exciting opener but it does segue perfectly into Rock ‘N’ Roll Lies which is much more engaging and rockier. Vice is both heavy and slow, an obvious single, it’s solid as love songs go and in fairness its crescendo of an ending is pretty awesome. Title track Up All Night is less exciting, it doesn’t really feel like it’s going anywhere despite having another crashing ending. Which Way Is Out is more fun and the vocal style owes a lot to Madness. Rip It Up is a highlight, a great pumping track. Don't Go Back to Dalston is more than just the good advice of its title (and trust me, this is good advice). It's the best song so far, a great mix of yearning vocals and crashing drums and guitars. Golden Touch is of course one of their more famous singles. It’s perfect, accessible indie, I’m literally tapping my toes as I write this. It suffers from over-exposure, but you can’t argue that it’s a really well-crafted song. Stumble and Fall is another well-known single, but the vocals feel more strained on this and it's just ok. Get It and Go starts brightly but then just begins to feel repetitive. In the City starts out as the token acoustic, the electric guitars do kick-in eventually, but it remains pretty forgettable. To the Sea is fast and dancy and very Libertines-y. The original version of the album closes with Fall, Fall, Fall. I’m sure it’s supposed to be a hauntingly beautiful ending, but having a random slow ballad seems like a jarring way to end.

Razorlight will always be compared unfavourably to both The Libertines and The Strokes as a band that copied others and never really found their own sound. This quality of this album is really all in the singles as with the exception of Don't Go Back to Dalston, everything else feels like filler. It’s a very polished album, but maybe it’s over-polished it kind of feels a bit too knowing, and there is so little diversity in the tracks that they mostly blur together and it honestly just gets a bit boring. This band were massive in the UK in 2004 and 2005, but now they seem like a bit of a footnote and listening to Up All Night 15 years after its release, it’s easy to see why.

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