Given his relentless work as a musician it’s odd to think that this is the first solo record by former Smiths guitarist Johnny Marr. He has played with (almost) everyone, from Electronic (with Bernard Sumner from New Order) to The The to Modest Mouse and Cribs, and these are just a few of the bands that Marr has been involved with.
Then there are the Healers, a band with whom he published a record in his own name a few years ago (today almost forgotten). But still at the time he was just the leader of a band. Today he’s simply Johnny Marr.
If you grew up in the 80’s your heart will jump at the sound of “Generate! Generate!” but the opening track “The right thing” is also very good, its riff reflecting the sound that Johnny Marr embodies.
With his inseparable guitar he has influenced the sound of English rock music like few others, whether with the Smiths or in other bands. He’s like Peter Buck - you recognize his sound and touch anywhere - but Marr is a true nomad and it’s maybe only today that he has found a home.
He writes very well and sings pretty well (better than Peter Buck, anyhow). “The messenger” is a true master class of rock guitar that begs to be explored by generations of musicians to come – not just when he evokes the Smiths (“European me” which mixes electric and acoustic guitars) but also when he plays with the syncopated rhythms of “The messenger”, where he shows a thing or two to the likes of the Strokes, Interpol and the likes.
He doesn’t tell us anything new, mind you, there’s nothing truly groundbreaking in these tracks, but there’s a heap of class as well as the concentrated essence of a fantastic career. Finally there’s him – Johnny Marr – at last able to take center stage without lending his talents to someone else’s project. That is most certainly enough for us.
“The right thing right”
“I want the heartbeat”
“Sun and moon”
“The crack up”
“New town velocit”
“Word starts attack”