Since the implosion of The Libertines and Pete Doherty's elevation from talented songwriter to tabloid icon, there's been a whole raft of wannabe cool, grimy indie rock'n'rollers. Some have been good (Nine Black Alps), some have been not so good (The Others), but one band stands above them all and over the last 12 months have demonstrated the talent to show they could well outshine Pete and Carl.
Razorlight were one of last year's big success stories, their debut album Up All Night showing that behind leader Johnny Borrell's rent a quote gob lay some truly fantastic songs. After a string of great singles, they've promised to go back into the studio now so here's a DVD to keep all Razorlight fanatics sated until the new album.
The self explanatory This Is A Razorlight DVD consists of the band's gig at London's Brixton Academy recorded last October, all of the band's promotional videos and some moments that will make fans extremely happy in the shape of some rare footage of drummer Andy Burrow's first gig with the band, a soundcheck at the Mean Fiddler and footage from the band's rooftop gig at London's Bricklayer Arms pub,
The Brixton gig is obviously the main attraction and captures the band on top form. If you've never seen Razorlight live, this shows exactly why they rise above all the other generic 'white boys with guitars' bands out there. Johnny Borrell is a truly charismatic frontman and the crowd love him - especially so judging by the female screams of appreciation when he removes his shirt and performs most of the gig bare-chested.
But this isn't the indie version of a boy band we're dealing with - the songs that Razorlight rip through show that they deal in classic rock songs. The chaotic Don't Go Back To Dalston, the classic pop of Golden Touch and Rip It Up and the epic In The City all mark out Borrell as a truly great songwriter. His antics on stage keep everyone watching as well, whether it be launching into a long, rambling monologue during Leave Me Alone or climbing the speaker stack during In The City, all eyes are on the frontman.
The introduction of a gospel choir on Golden Touch is also an inspired moment, and the inclusion of non-album tracks such as Just Can't Explain and Keep The Right Profile means that this isn't just a fan cash-in. A great souvenir of a great Razorlight gig.
The videos are also required viewing, especially as the option is given to watch them in chronological order. Here the viewer can see how the band have progressed from the raw shoots of Rock N Roll Lies and the original Rip It Up, through the more polished Stumble And Fall and Rip It Up right up to the marvelous Somewhere Else, filmed in atmospheric black and white with Borrell gazing moodily into the camera looking every inch the rock star. The highlight though has to be Vice featuring Borrell in a phonebox festooned with animated prostitute cards!
The rare clips are likely to be only of interest to hardcore fans as the quality is pretty poor - the sound on the rooftop gig in particular is atrocious. Yet the soundcheck footage does feature an acoustic Borrell performance of B side Heartbreak Soup which is a nicely unpredictable touch.
So this is indeed a Razorlight DVD - and a damn good one at that.