Andy Burrows may be better known as the drummer from Razorlight and We Are Scientists, but with his first solo album Company he shows that he has the kicks to step out into the limelight. Despite the lack of attention he received while leading the band I Am Arrows, with his newest debut he proves that it really is a shame that he’s been trapped behind a drum set.
Company is an album that skillfully blends indie folk with soul and. most notably, pop, for a cohesive sound that is reminiscent of the pre-Raconteurs Brendan Benson. Burrows is a multitasker in every sense of the word, showing off his skills on guitar, piano, vocals, and of course, percussion. Those who know him best for his background beats may be surprised to hear a soft, wistful voice that reaches hard to hit falsetto notes during the choruses of several songs.
It should come as no surprise that the drumming is exemplary. Songs like “Maybe You,” and “Somebody Calls Your Name,” are remarkable for their steady use of mariachi thrown into unexpected styles. The former track accompanies it’s steady yet quirky percussion with twangy guitar picking and Burrows’ crooning sounding smoother than ever. The lyrics unfold into a nostalgic and timeless melody, ending with a remarkably full sound and a horn solo that calls classic jazz musicians to mind. The latter track combines the offbeat percussions with a softer, more folk sounding ballad that has quicker strumming and a romantically hopeful feeling.
Lyrically, Andy Burrows is no genius, though he’s no atrocity either. Many phrases walk the line between simple and cliché, and at first listen, this album seem to appeal to those experiencing an immature heartbreak. His opening track, the namesake of the album, revolves around the idea of miscommunication in relationships - which comes as no surprise because this not a guy who’s particularly good with words. In the chorus, he sings “Please don’t let me say anything I don’t mean,” and continues on with “Please don’t let me stay here forever/I really should be moving on.” However, in this song, his lack of meaningful lyrics is overcome by a catchy melody and skilled instrumentation.
Lyrics take a turn for the cheesy in “If I Had a Heart,” in which Burrows starts out with, “I forget/Someone had to pay for this with love.” The song, consisting of piano chords, unremarkable percussion, and later a chorus of strings, seems to borrow it’s melodies from the soul-turned-pop songs that unfortunately flood mainstream radio stations. It is followed by “Hometown,” another sub-par piano based ballad that is reminiscent of pseudo-inspirational Christian rock. Located in the middle of the album, these boring and unoriginal songs bring the listener down.
Nevertheless, there are gems to be found. “Keep On Moving On” is a bluesy foot stomper with catchy guitar riffs, in which Burrows’ voice comes across as significantly edgier than the other tracks. It is preceded by the album’s first single, “Because I Know That I Can,” which lyrically revolves around the idea of reluctance but musically is anything but with a foot stomping intro interspersed with catchy guitar licks.
Though no one is going to herald Burrows as the next rock star, with Company he has capitulated himself out of his obscure drummer status.
2.5 out of 5 stars