And so, Razorlight are “un-officially” no more. Johnny Borrell’s hand has now stopped pumping out the excess water from the sinking ship and it is now nestled back in the pocket of his trademark skinny white jeans.
For me it will always be a case of what could have been with Razorlight, incredible hit-makers and an entertaining live band but will always be remembered for Johnny Borrell and his massively inflated ego (comedic at times but usually just plain annoying).
To add substance to the last claim I remember being at the VFestival in 2006. Razorlight were playing the C4 stage at the same time Morrissey was on the main. I, in my ultimate wisdom (sorry I’m starting to sound like Jonny Borrell) went to see Morrissey. I met a friend back at the campsite after and he’d been to see Razorlight. He then explained at length at how Borrell had bragged that Razorlight had a bigger crowd than Morrissey and were therefore more popular (an idiotic comparison at best and typical of the mans arrogance).
One of the best Borrell quotes was for the NME, in 2004. It is so deluded that it deserves to be quoted in full…
“Firstly, I’m a genius,” started Borrell. “Musically, culturally, everything. I’ve written two more albums. I’m writing a film in which I’m going to star in and I’m writing the soundtrack. I can’t stop. I’ve got stacks of songs; it’s just a case of getting them out there. It’s like [Bob Dylan and The Band’s] The Basement Tapes: it took years for people to hear them… Compared to the Razorlight album Dylan is making the chips. I’m drinking champagne.”
But it was this same bravado that produced some of the bands greatest moments. There is no doubt that the “Up All Night” album to this day still contains pure, brilliant indie anthems. And, you have to ask yourself would he have written these (most of their songs are credited to Borrell/Razorlight) if he was the shrinking violet type? Probably not.
However, the same bravado and arrogance also destroyed the band. A man so opinionated, it was hard to warm to him as a fan, let alone if you were a member of the group. Andy Burrows had certainly had enough after a number of spats with the lead singer. Burrows left the group to form “I Am Arrows” and signed to the same record label (Universal) as his ex-band 11 days later.
A catalogue of 3 albums does them credit but for a group with undoubted talent it’s a shame there wasn’t more.
I suppose if I had to sum up then it would be that “They came, they saw but they never quite conquered.”