In full-blown, undeniably arena-bound spheres

Let's be straight, he may have a messianic ego that could reduce Sting to the ashes of a bumbling recluse...

...but if you though Johnny Borrell had thrown down the gauntlet to an array of fans still living out their middle class bohemian rebellion years in a Dalston commune with their second album, just wait till he opens '60 Thompson’ with the no-more-conservative couplet “The bell boy brings you coffee/There are letters from every shore” and provides one of the albums first laugh-out-loud moments.

Oh yes, ‘Slipway Fires’ is certainly the LP that will have every Borrell baiter queuing up to vent their bitter riposte, not because it's a bad album, more so that Razorlight MK III sees them in full-blown, undeniably arena-bound spheres. It’s awash with tales of Hollywood romance gone wrong (North London Trash’) and upper class downfalls (‘Burberry Blue Eyes’).

Opening with ‘Wire To Wire’, it's as far removed from the romanticised street urchin punk of ‘Up All Night’ as imaginable; an emotive, choir-flecked Radio 2-ravaging reflection of their expansion. ‘Hostage Of Love’ follows, sounding like a distant yet stern cousin of ‘Before I Fall To Pieces’, wherein Johnny proclaims “I am the winch/I am salvation/ And your herald of sin”, in true disciple mode. ‘You And The Rest’ proves a highlight, all early-Police bass grooves and the first truly standout chorus. Further into the album, ‘Monster Boots’ provides one of their best moments- a building, power-pop belter awash with coiling guitar hooks and a grin-inducing falsetto segment.

Slipway Fires may be overblown, but is still worthy of your attention.

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