Released on February 16, 2018 (Rob Mules Records)
Whenever a band changes its lead vocalist and bassist, and on top adds a second guitarist, you have to expect some changes from one album to the next. In the case of Norwegian rockers Razorbats, they switched singers from Evan Berg to Paul Vercoutereen, swapped bassists from Stig Sætevik to Chris Haugerud, and added second guitarist Asle Tangen for the release of their second full-length studio album — the aptly named II. Berg and Sætevik were part of Razorbats‘ 2015 released Camp Rock album, which I reviewed and opined that it was “a rocking album which sets itself apart from the rest of the pack with the ’70s sound and feel.” The group with Berg and Sætevik in tow also released the three-song EP This High in 2016, which while good, definitely did not measure up to Camp Rock.
Although band founder and guitarist Kjetil F. Wevling apparently wrote all the songs on II except for “Nowhere” which he co-wrote with Berg, I find that the songs really don’t sound like the ones on Camp Rock. Gone are the ’70s references and sounds as well as the grittiness so prevalent on Camp Rock. In are what I can only be described as “pop punk” type music, which is rather tame and alas, a bit boring at times. I was initially disappointed with the two first singles “Social Reject” and especially “Sister Siberia” mostly because both seem to lack punch and are way too poppy for my liking. Luckily, those two tracks are not the best ones on II. The lone standout track is “Nowhere” and I am finally realized why after listening to a few songs off Camp Rock just before writing this review. “Nowhere” has way more pep, a stronger guitar sound and more of that attitude that was so prevalent on Camp Rock. It’s probably the only track from II that could have fit quite nicely onto Camp Rock.
I get that bands want to branch out and “evolve” from one album to the next. Mötley Crüe were masters in that regard releasing one different album after another from the unpolished Too Fast For Love to the sleaze masterpiece Shout At The Devil to the ultra glam (and disappointing) Theatre Of Pain to the back to the basics Girls, Girls, Girls. Perhaps that is what Razorbats are trying to do in changing their sound pretty drastically from their last full-length album (Camp Rock) to their latest one (II). The songs are II are simpler, more polished and with more melodies than the ones on Camp Rock and although enjoyable, don’t make me pine to hear them again. It’s a forgettable type of album when compared to Camp Rock.
My favorite tracks on II are the happy “Take It Out On The Road,” the single “Social Rejects” (although disappointing when I first heard it), “Bad Teacher” and the aforementioned “Nowhere.” The one track that I am really not fond of is the album closer and faster paced ballad “Talk All Night” which features guest vocals from Annette Gill. Its a rather moody and slow way to end off the album, which highlights the record’s main problems — the lack of attitude and grit. The Razorbats band that I first discovered on Camp Rock seems to have evaporated and perhaps evolved into a more poppy punk like band on II. Hopefully, Razorbats will get back to their rocking ways or else I will have to cut the cord so to speak.
01. The Waiting
02. Take It Out On The Road
03. Social Rejects
04. Dead Boy City
05. Bad Teacher
07. Sister Siberia
08. Going Underground
09. Send In The Clowns
10. Talk All Night
Paul Vercouteren – vocals
Kjetil F. Wevling – guitar, backing vocals
Asle Tangen – guitar, backing vocals
Chris Haugerud – bass, backing vocals
Knut S.S. Wettre – drums, backing vocals
Annette Gill – guest vocals (10), additional backing vocals
Philly Obuskovic – additional backing vocals
Kai Christofferson – addition backing vocals, percussion, keyboards
Per Erik Kristiansen – additional backing vocals
Kiran Surana – additional backing vocals
Mathias Groven – additional backing vocals
Stig Sætevik – bass (4, 10)
Produced, engineered and mixed by Kai Christofferson
Mastered by Chris Samson
Reviewed by Olivier for Sleaze Roxx, April 2018
Razorbats‘ “Social Rejects” video:
First single from the “Razorbats II” album with release February 16 2018 through Rob Mules Records. Stream or buy on digital platforms here: http://smarturl.it/d7gv2w Pre-order album here: http://www.tigernet.no/item/152250–razorbats–ii–cd Music video directed by Kjetil F. Wevling and David Gabrielsen. Photo by Ingvar Sørensen and David Gabrielsen. All rights reserved Razorbats Music 2017.
Razorbats‘ “Sister Siberia” song:
Second single from the “Razorbats II” album. Released 16 February 2018 through Rob Mules Records. Buy/stream the single: smarturl.it/wnbtf5 Buy “Razorbats II”: http://shop.razorbats.com/product/razorbats-ii All rights reserved.