A third solo set which slowly unfurls its dreamy charms.
John Aizlewood 2012-10-10
The prospect of an Andy Burrows album may not necessarily set pulses racing. First up, he’s a drummer, and as we all know one of the wiser things a drummer can do is resist the temptation to record a solo album. Moreover, he was once Razorlight’s drummer, and now he does much the same thing for We Are Scientists.
Yet, as Radiohead drummer Phil Selway’s Familial reminded us, trends are there to be bucked. Burrows co-wrote Razorlight’s America and Before I Fall to Pieces, plus assorted album tracks. His solo career remains largely unheralded since his solo debut was for charity and its successor was credited to I Am Arrows, a band only outside of the studio.
His third, properly attributed and properly released, should mark the start of something cultish. Rather like Richard Ashcroft’s solo work and the outer reaches of the Traffic catalogue, it’s short of cascading choruses but big on feel. It’s unashamedly dreamy, overflowing with atmosphere, and so bucolically English that, for all that it was made in London, it almost smells of fresh fields.
Burrows is a winsome singer and there’s a downbeat air to these tales of cut adrift souls who are both disappointed and disappointing. So when the opening title track begins with a poorly connected mobile phone conversation symbolising a couple’s lack of communication, the melancholic tone is set.
The whole may be greater than the sum of its parts, but there’s musical invention to spare. Mournful mariachi tones waft through Maybe You, and a guitar solo from the Judas Priest songbook stands out on the otherwise sedate Keep On Moving On. Then there’s the orchestral swell which gives the already outstanding Shaking the Colour an air of grandeur that Burrows’ pleading, back-to-the-wall vocals warrants.
Intriguingly nuanced, Company is much more ambitious and much less unassuming (there are barbs in those lyrics) than its vaguely folksy gloss suggests. That it unfurls its charms slowly may be its greatest charm. What Andy Burrows does now is in his own hands: this record won’t transform him into an international star, but it will make us forget he was once just a drummer.