A collection of paranoid, pompous, spiteful and uncharitable songs populated by lazy, clichéd lyrics, 'Slipway Fires' is a less than pleasing offering from Razorlight.

First, the good bit. There are some decent tunes, and the band can crank out a reliably upbeat if somewhat safe sounding pop-to-stadium-rock-ish sound, though Johnny Borrell's voice remains quite unremarkable.

'North London Trash' and 'Burberry Blue Eyes' have swagger while 'Monster Boots' is an energetic number you could imagine enlivening proceedings in Whelan's at half one in the morning. 'Blood for Wild Blood' sounds great until a silly voice distortion effect kicks in and ruins the chorus.

But the rest is a dragging mishmash of dull music and dim lyrics.
Some writers shoehorn words in because they sound nice, others sacrifice the sound of their lyrics for meaning. Borrell has the knack of doing the opposite of both; mawkish lyrics that sound terrible.

The album also suffers from Borrell's contempt for well, pretty much everyone who isn't him. There's scorn for everyone from the "office workers with their camera phones", to the subject of 'Burberry Blue Eyes', to "middle class kids" to Borrell's conquests.

"I don't love you/I don't like you/I don't dig what you do/And that's all" ('Stinger') is pretty much representative.

Misanthropy - or, at least, Johnny Borrell's misanthropy - ain't cool.

Pomposity also regularly intrudes, no less so than at the end of the album's sleevenotes, where the word 'FIN' declaims that things have come to a close.

FIN off.

This is a bleak, uninviting worldview shrouded in music made for focus groups.

Brendan Cole