Johnny Borrell – Borrell 1 Review

He’s back everyone! Whether you like it or not. He’s talked of how he has been “Obnoxious” and many wouldn’t stop there in their descriptions of him. Razorlight were initially pretty fresh and exciting and getting a number one album and single in 2006 suggested they could be ‘the new band of this generation’ that everyone bangs on about, but Borrell’s vast arrogance killed it and eventually killed Razorlight in it’s original form. They only thing it has kept is him. Eventhough people will have already judged this album on him being a prat, I won’t. If you want that than read the NME. Besides, is he even a prat anymore? I mean he hasn’t reached the lows that Pete Doherty has stooped to. This solo effort is by no means a continuation of Razorlight’s catalogue. He’s recorded the album with Zazou who are an assortment of busking musicians playing a sort of rag time, upbeat Jazzy style.

The song titles have been slated a little and ‘Pan European Supermodel Song (Oh! Gina)’ is an example. The song is very piano based and is a pretty jolly and happy tune with a nice build up in the verses with the sugar coated harmonies into the rousing chorus. They do well to fill the sound with not much instrumentation and that’s in part where the backing vocals are utilised. The dreaded saxophone sections were not too bad and sort of tweaked the instrumentals for a little variation. All in all it generally works well with Borrell’s vocal style and is sort of a nice little pop tune with proper musical elements. So on the face of it, it’s a positive song and is a grower and sort of get’s implanted in your head when you want to go to sleep so if you’re knackered then avoid. ‘Power To The Woman’ is driven by a mish-mash of percussion and the saxophone makes regular appearances and at times links in with the vocals well but the song is almost too bare and the music seem’s to be spread very thinly. For ‘Joshua Amrit’ it’s almost identical to the previous song. The only difference is the inclusion of the piano but the song structure, backing vocals, percussion and saxophone are a mirror’s image of ‘Power To The Woman’ and they’ve compounded this flaw by putting ‘Joshua Amrit’ right after it in the track listing. Placing them apart might not have highlighted the problem as much.

‘Cyrano Masochiste’ is perhaps the most produced and most involved song on the album. The standard elements are there and has one of the few inclusions of a guitar to go along with the various other elements and lyrically it’s pretty damn odd. Along with that are the little reverbs, echoes and sound effects such as that of a whip? I know… But this song is a highlight for being one of the few songs without all the saxophone and harmonies contributions of which there is such little variation, it’s pretty boring in-spite of the up beat nature of the album. It’s by no means as bad as the song titles suggested and the musicians are all pretty skilled in their roles but again what lets it down is largely how linear and predictable the album is and the lack of musical variation it contains. In many ways you’ll only remember the main single and the rest will just sound the same and it’s positive factors were transformed into negative factors very quickly which is a shame.

Johnny Borrell – Borrell 1 = 4.5/10

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