When multi-instrumentalist Andy Burrows finally put out a solo record 2 years ago, it came as a sigh of relief from the many people who had waited for him to emerge from the shadows. A majority of his career has been spent in the background, whether it being the drummer in now-defunct Razorlight (he even wrote their major hit, America), one half of Smith & Burrows (with Editors vocalist Tom Smith) or the drummer in We Are Scientists. His 2012 album Company saw Burrows tour relentlessly around Europe, with big slots at major Dutch festival Pinkpop and supporting dates with Muse seeing him make a considerable name for himself. Two years later, and Burrows has released his brand new solo album Fall Together Again. Read on to see what All Things Loud thought of the album.
Opening with the upbeat pianos of Derwen, the song quickly builds up with a selection of strings and pounding percussion intertwining to precede an epic mid-section. A sudden crescendo makes way for the RnB-flecked As Good As Gone, which uses beat-oriented percussion and faint acoustic guitars to provide a radio-friendly chorus. Burrows’ vocals are accompanied by layered backing vocals and soulful “oohs”. The Americana rock of City to Coast encompasses bleeping synths, Hammond organs and horns as Burrow sings “I need to rumble, I’m as good as gone, and if you’re mine you could be anyone’s”. A radio-ready chorus featuring more horns and falsetto precedes a classic rock chorus, before All This I’ve Heard Before sees Burrows make use of Christmas-esque percussion on this piano-led track. The song comes together after 2 minutes, with arpegiating pianos preceding a strong chorus that brings the song to a big climax. You Won’t Find Love follows the acoustic road, before waspy synths make an unexpected appearance in and amongst the simple instrumental structure. “And if I dream that we are talking” sings Burrows in perfect falsetto as he sings about his former lover no longer finding love. The earlier synths become more prominent later on, as the song slowly comes to a quiet end. The hypnotic synths and reverb-laced guitars of Who Are You Now? sound quite intriguing, with the song following a steady pace throughout as faint xylophone is added to give the song more layering. See a Girl makes use of a happy, indie rock melody as Burrows finds himself yet again singing over a simple instrumental formula. The chorus is one of the most radio-friendly on the album, ensuring that See a Girl is a potential hit for Burrows. As with other songs on the album, See a Girl is very simple, yet that isn’t a problem for Burrows. His songs work best when they aren’t overthought and continuously layered to sound interesting; he thrives on simplicity.
With the album nearing an end, Watch Me Fall Again opens with bleeping synth lines and a repetitive “oh oh oh” courtesy of Editors’ frontman Tom Smith, who guest stars on this song. A calm and collected verse makes way for an emotional chorus of “So will you walk with me? Please will you talk to me?” as Smith and Burrows share the vocal duties on the following verse. As the instrumentation builds up in layers of electronic noises and strummed acoustic guitars, the pure emotion in Smith & Burrows’ shared vocals makes for the most beautiful moment on the album. At one point, Smith’s trademark vocals whisk you away into a world of pure beauty as his baritone voice makes way for a magnificent ending. A cacophony of synths and ambient noise bring the song to a sudden end, as Hearts & Minds strips all the layers away and leaves us with nothing more than Burrows’ voice and two guitars. A synthesizer joins in later on, yet the song doesn’t go further than that. Penultimate track When Your Ship Comes In introduces itself with dramatic piano lines and a haunting chorus which bears some resemblance to Michael Jackson’s Earth Song. This is the catalyst for the song to build up in intensity, as strings slowly make their way into the foreground alongside more synths. Album closer Don’t Be Gone Too Long’s combination of cabasa and acoustic guitars is underpinned by ambient noise, as Burrows’ sings emotionally sings “Don’t be gone too long, because I can’t do without you” to pull the curtain on Fall Together Again.
If Fall Together Again has proven anything, it’s that Burrows is certainly capable of releasing a coherent yet simple album. It may lean heavily towards singer-songwriter territory at times, but the songs themselves have enough substance to make them memorable. Standout track Watch Me Fall Again stands out head and shoulders above the rest of the album, yet that doesn’t take away from the fact that the whole album is impressive. Burrows thrives on intimacy, yet he may have to take a step up to the bigger venues if this album becomes as successful as it deserves to be.
Fall Together Again is out now via Play It Again Sam (PIAS).