The Razorcuts

R Is for...Razorcuts

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Combining classic songcraft, chiming guitars and heartfelt vocals to create a prototypical indie sound, The Razorcuts were one of the best and most influential groups to come out of the UK-based C86 scene of the mid-'80s. They recorded the obligatory flexi-disc tracks, a batch of singles for Subway Organisation and two wonderful LPs for Creation, all of which were impossible to find on CD until now. The fine folks at Matinee have put together a compilation that gathers tracks from throughout their career and makes a strong case for the Razorcuts as one of the great British bands of the 1980s. Starting off with the beautiful "I'll Still Be There," the disc charts the Razorcuts (who consisted of Gregory Webster on guitar and vocals, Tim Vass on bass and vocals, and a revolving cast of other musicians) as their sound progressed from lo-fi indie pop to full and majestic folk-rock-tinged balladry by the end of their career. Along the way are such classic songs as the aching "Sorry to Embarrass You," "Brighter Now," "Contract With God" (a tune the Byrds would have been glad to call their own), and Tim Vass' fave, "I Won't Let You Down." A nice inclusion at the end of the disc are three bonus-track rarities: the 1986 flexi-disc track "Sad Kaleidoscope"; the surf pastiche demo from 1985, "The Horror of Party Beach"; and the single version of "I'll Still Be There." The liner notes are another treat, with reminiscences from both Webster and Vass as well as essays by Bob Stanley of Saint Etienne and the Legend (aka Everett True). The disc is a wonderful exercise in nostalgia for fans lucky enough to have heard the Razorcuts when they were active and is a must-have for anyone who is a fan of the current crop of indie pop groups who use the Razorcuts as one of the blocks their sound is built on. Many, many thanks to Matinee for telling the Razorcuts' story.

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