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:: Razorlight :: The BellRays ::
21 October 2003 / The Roadhouse / Manchester
By Kate Wheeler

There’s a skinny, floppy haired scamp on stage wearing a slightly silly outfit. He’s posing, pointing, pouting and rolling his eyes a tad theatrically and he’s great. He can’t sing sing in the Pop Idol sense but he’s got a gorgeous romanticised yelp, which hits you in the heart. For a fleeting moment you could almost be forgiven for thinking of a young Jarvis Cocker.

The moment soon passes, but I hope Razorlight will be around for a lot longer. Head and shoulders above most of the ‘hotly tipped’ New Rock lot, they take the Television/Strokes formula and inject it with their own warm, witty decidedly likeable (and notably English) personality. Tonight’s set is littered with yearning, angular little pop tunes, performed with confidence and panache, particularly by the aforementioned singer who’s got more star quality than a continent of Fame Academies. Their sound isn’t as full bodied as it could or should be but this is surely only a matter of time. I will be genuinely surprised if a whole lot more people don’t fall head over heals for this band before the year is out.

All which means that headliners The Bellrays sound a bit bland and obvious by comparison. Sure, they’ve got power. They’ve got raw rock’n soul energy by the truckload. And they’ve got Lisa Kekaula, a hip shakin’ diva with one hell of a voice. A lethal secret weapon that could add a bit of sex and sparkle to the most average, rock’n roll outfit. But unfortunately that’s exactly what The Bellrays are. And somehow even Lisa’s almighty voice can not divert them from this simple fact.

Somewhat frustratingly they do show the occasional flash of inspiration, generally during their less frequent slower numbers. You get the feeling that if they took their foot off the accelerator of the bluesrawkpunksoul juggernaught a little more often they would maybe, just maybe have the space and time to develop in to something a bit more special and distinctive. But instead they opt to continue relentlessly bludgeoning us over the head with a big competent, average rock schtick. And after a while it starts to give me a headache.

The BellRays Website
Razorlight Web

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