The Razorlight frontman fares slightly better with backing band Zazou than on last year's solo album

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Johnny Borrell & Zazou - 'The Artificial Night' EP


Johnny Borrell & Zazou – ‘The Artificial Night’ EP

Last year, a misfiring solo debut crucified any lingering memories of Johnny Borrell the pop star. ‘Borrell 1’ painted him as a funfair drunkard, zigzagging haphazardly on a unicycle through roots rock history. It was characterised by preposterous lyrics, boundless saxophone and the fact that very few people (less than 600 in the week of release) bought it. While slightly more restrained, this 14-minute EP, which references Yeats and Voltaire, remains outlandish. Borrell’s spirit remains unshackled, embodied by a grand version of Dylan’s ‘Man Gave Names To All The Animals’. Brass is mercifully scarce this time, instead, hooky strings and Latin percussion evoke Scott Walker in a 1960s tapas bar. Borrell sounds happier, if still ridiculous (“It takes a real bad bitch to make me feel good”). His resurrection is now complete.

Ben Homewood


Record label:Atlantic Culture
Release date:28 Apr, 2014