SXSW Records


Slipway Fires (Vertigo)

Laws of diminishing return don't bend in the face of Johnny Borrell's bedroom croon, but Razorlight's Slipway Fires manages a glow even in low light. Between the two best tracks that bookend the UK quartet's third LP struggles an album slighter than the last, which was already thinner than the first. "North London Trash," trademark Borrell auto-sneer, rocks tight British execution, as does the runaway "Hostage of Love," another Fires highlight. Tragically, the bottom falls out of the platter's latter half. Bravo that Borrell and beat-keeper Andy Burrows continue collaborating on trad UK pop, but "Burberry Blue Eyes" might have better fleshed out a single. It would be an easy disc to write off if it weren't for the piano ballads that enclose Slipway Fires, "Wire to Wire," a knowing love song, and finale "The House" exquisite requiem ("I'm entering the house where my father died"). Chris Martin isn't the lone exporter of English crystal. (Sat., Stubb's, 8:40pm.)


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