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Slipway Fires

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Slipway Fires + Up All Night + Razorlight
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

U.S. pressing of the British quartet's album includes a link to download to two bonus audio tracks. After releasing two of the most popular indie albums of the 00s, Razorlight return for their third in the shape of Slipway Fires. Typically dramatic and epic in its expressions, this release is slightly more bombastic than before, and incorporates a rawer, edgier rock dynamic. Recorded after a period of isolation and creative rest, lead singer Johnny Borrell took his band to the Inner Hebrides to fuel the renewed creative process, resulting in this anthemic collection. Features the single 'Wire To Wire'. Mercury. 2009.

About the Artist

Sometimes you need to get away from it all, even when your life succeeds beyond your wildest dreams. Just ask Razorlight songwriter, lead singer and guitarist Johnny Borrell, who secreted away on an island off Scotland to write the British band's third CD, the melodic, musically adventurous "Slipway Fires."

"I wanted to process my feelings about a few things because a lot had happened in the last four or five years," Borrell says.

That's a major understatement.

Since Razorlight released its major label debut, "Up All Night," in 2004, the quartet has become one of the biggest bands in the U.K., selling more than three million copies of its first two CDs. The group--comprised of Borrell, guitarist/vocalist Bjorn Agren, bassist Carl Dalemo and drummer Andy Burrows-- has filled British airwaves with such hits as "In the Morning," "Before I Fall to Pieces" and "America." They've headlined the main stage at the Reading Festival and toured with the likes of U2, the Who and the Rolling Stones, standing toe-to-toe with their musical heroes.

At the same time, Borrell simultaneously became a U.K. cover boy and whipping post. Magazines clamored to feature Borrell in their pages since he was always quick with a memorable, sometimes regrettable, but always clever quote until the fame threatened to eclipse the music.

No wonder he needed some time away. Lest anyone think Borrell repaired to a pampered retreat, think again. He lived in a home with no central heating, "so I had to keep lugging coal and chopping wood for about three hours a day to keep the house running," he says. "I knew I was going to read a lot. I didn't really go up to there to write, I just went away. But then, the album started to make itself known."

Plus, he got a nudge when drummer Burrows sent the scorched-earth, slow burner "Stinger" to Borrell. "I was communing with the wind and the grey skies and Andy sent me the song. I thought, that's really a good song, I better start writing some good songs."

Armed with a tasty assortment of tunes, the band entered the studio with producer Mike Crossey (Arctic Monkeys, the Kooks). "We like to try out different producers, try a few days with them and see how it goes," Borrell says. "We thought we'd already found our man, but then Mike came in. He had so much energy. It was the first time we'd worked with someone our own age. We'd always worked with a father figure." Crossey's enthusiasm was infectious. For the first time, the band recorded much of the album live-- "the vocals, live everything, all in one go," Borrell recounts.

"Slipway Fires," the band's first on Mercury in the U.S., broadly displays two very different sides of Razorlight. There's the detached, pointed observer of today's social scene, who trenchantly comments on the ruling upper class (Or "the horse and hound girls, the family line that has been ruined by syphilis and heroin," Borrell sneers) in such delectable power pop rock as the Who-like "Burberry Blue Eyes," the driving, irresistible "Tabloid Lover" and the scathing "North London Trash."

But then the band changes gears with the epic, emotional swells of such songs as the Nick Drake-like "Hostage of Love," the poignant, haunting "The House" and first single, the delicate "Wire to Wire." The song, already a top 5 hit in the U.K., is a modern-day love story of a couple trying to find themselves through the charred ruins of their past. "It's two people with the same scar," Borrell says. "I wasn't really thinking it would be a single or anything and we started getting phone calls from people who were saying that songs a smash."

All the songs on "Slipway Fire" "exist for a reason," says Borrell and are detailed communiqués sent out in the hope of igniting some deeper connection. "With the first album, I felt like I was leaving voice mails for people," he says. "These songs are letters, they're slightly more considered."

Fans will immediately hear the arc of the band's metamorphosis. Borrell describes it best: "When you come out with your first album, you're sort of this hormonal, confused, screaming machine, but you're not entirely sure what you want to be saying," he laughs. "The second one, we wanted to broaden our range a little bit. Me and Andy were trying to prove ourselves as songwriters. There's nothing wrong with that. For this one, I just wanted to do something that could own its own space."

And that space is spreading. With their superstar status in the U.K. secure, Razorlight's popularity continues to build in the United States, and much to Borrell and the band's delight, the story is based on the music, not any tabloid mythology.

"This is where rock `n roll comes from, it's hugely important that we break here," Borrell says. "I like the fact that in America, we're the underdog because it cuts out a lot of the bullshit. I'm not jumping up and down, saying `Here! Look at me!' I'm going `Here's the music.' I'm letting the music do the talking."

And now, Borrell and Co. are ready to let the music do the talking on the road. He can't wait can't wait to play the new songs live on the band's North American tour. "My dream is my manager saying `here's the tour,' and I can see all the dates and they run for two years consecutively. I don't care if it's 10,000 or 1,000 or 100, I'd just go play. I'm making music with people who are great at what they do."


1. Wire to Wire
2. Hostage of Love
3. You and the Rest
4. Tabloid Lover
5. North London Trash
6. 60 Thompson
7. Stinger
8. Burberry Blues Eyes
9. Blood for Wild Blood
10. Monster Boots
11. House

Product Details

  • Audio CD (March 10, 2009)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Mercury
  • ASIN: B001G93Z5Q
  • Average Customer Review: 3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (56 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #300,254 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Razorlight's third release, Slipway Fires, has a strong traditional rock flavor to the album. I can only guess this was intended to broaden their appeal and make them accessible to those who traditionally don't listen to alternative rock. In fact, most of this album is what I would call just plain old rock until you reach the sixth track, "60 Thompson." There is nothing wrong with that, but Razorlight fans, such as myself, who were looking forward to the raw energy of their other albums may be left scratching their heads with this one. This album has some good songs on it, but it feels more like a collection of songs than a coherent album. Even though it has grown on me, I prefer songs on their other albums to this one. I even prefer the second album, which has been put down a lot. Even though this album has a much higher quality production to it, it feels like something was lost in the process of cleaning them up for this release.

There are a lot of songs on this album that sound like other bands. "You & The Rest" has a Violent Femmes sort of feel to it. The first part of "Tabloid Lover" is reminiscent of early Talking Heads, but the Chorus sounds more like the early Beatles. "Stinger" sounds more like the Moody Blues, and "Burberry Blue Eyes" could have easily been an
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Jason Stein VINE VOICE on June 19, 2009
Format: Audio CD Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Amazon's Vine Program introduced me to Razorlight and "Slipway Fires", the band's third album. I did my research before I sat down to right this review. Listened to the album multiple times before formulating an opinion--check. Reading the reviews on the album by other periodicals--check. Reading up on the origin of the band and their previous albums--check.

With all this in mind, one thing I did not do was listen to their first two albums. I went into this completely neutral. I have to say I don't understand all the negative press surrounding "Slipway Fires". More than half the songs are melodic and memorable. The cd is short and sweet, just like I like them. The first two singles are great--"Wire To Wire" is a fine ballad with interesting lyrics delivered in fine passionate form. The second single "Hostage Of Love" also catchy and memorable and a change of pace being more uptempo. The third track, "You And The Rest" could easily be another single.

I see that the band is more popular overseas, in their native U.K., and other parts of Europe, but they are relatively unknown in the U.S. I think if the band received more promotion here they would be more popular. "Tabloid Lover", "North London Trash", "60 Thompson", "Burberry Blue Eyes", "Monster Boots" and "The House" are all great songs. The only weak tracks are "Stinger" and "Blood For Wild Blood", but hey, no one is perfect.

So, the bottom line is this: If you haven't listened to this band, you should do yourself a favor and check them out. If you're a fan, you should give this another chance (assuming you didn't like it compared to the band's first two outings). I give "Slipway Fires" four stars because it's enjoyable, memorable and the lyrics and vocals are interesting enough. The band reminds me of Crowded House, another band you ought to check out if you aren't familiar with them.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Martin A Hogan HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWER on May 24, 2009
Format: Audio CD Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
This European rock quartet received high acclaim in the U.K. back in 2004 when their first album, "Up All Night" went triple platinum there. They have also supported "Queen" and the "Rolling Stones", such is their popularity overseas. Their music is a combination of piano-fueled love songs, "Wire To Wire" to folksy rock anthemic lamentations as in "Hostage In Love". Each song contains a story and rides high on a steady beat and a surety of the strong rising band.

There are hints of "Crowded House" and "Black Crowes", but the sound is distinctly "Razorlights" own. "Monster Boots" runs away with ferocious fervor as the relentless drummer pounds away and the vocals spin wildly. On the flip-side, "The House" is a sad ballad that sets Razorlight ahead of most bands afraid to show dynamic range. Another rocker that shifts pace surprises at every bridge and riff is "Tabloid Lover", a surefire concert satisfier. "Stinger" is bluesy and emotional with a steady beat that will have you nodding your head in accompaniment.

Not shy with lyrics (listen to "North London Trash") or style (just about every song is distinctly its own), Razorlight is one of the hottest bands yet to be fully appreciated in the States. The latest single as of this date is "Wire To Wire" and its only a matter of short time before Razorlight is a huge hit in the old USA.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By korova on July 13, 2009
Format: Audio CD Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Have a quick look at the cover of Slipway Fires. The band pix, intentionally or not, pretty much give away what this album is about: glossy 70's style pop, influenced by the Stones, Abba, Smashing Pumpkins, and the Beatles.

Even though there isn't anything terribly challenging or innovative about any of the songs, the disc is a well-produced effort with a pleasant commercial sound. It's the sort of thing one often hears in the background at a [insert name of your favorite yuppie retailer or coffee chain here] or sees mentioned in the cursory "Music and Movies" section of women's fashion magazines. As a matter of fact, the band does a fair bit of fashionista name-dropping in the liner notes.

Bottom line: Slipway Fires is neither outstanding nor terrible. Razorlight has made a record that is nice enough to listen to but doesn't leave any sort of lasting impression. Listen to the samples before taking the plunge, unless you're the sort of person who lets fashion models and designer muses tell you what to buy--then feel free to jump on the bandwagon until the next flavor-of-the-month comes along. 3.5 stars.
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