Johnny Marr is nothing if not confident. In a recent Uncut interview he described this, his third solo album, as the best thing he's ever worked on. Therefore I'm really looking forward to hearing a record that is better than Meat is Murder. Still, he's pretty much the only Smith it's now ok to like so he's always welcome round here.
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In which universe can Johnny Marr describe this as the best thing he's ever worked on? It's an incredible thing about musicians that they continually think their best work is what they are currently doing. Imagine this happening in other fields - Peter Beardsley's best football was played at his short late spell at Hartlepool United, Tiger Woods was never better than missing the cut in the US Open.
It's at it's best when it sounds like the Smiths obvs. Both 'Hi Hello' and 'A Different Gun' are both plangent and wistful guitar pieces with a subtlety lacking in the bombast of most the rest of the LP. Otherwise it's loud rock with a distinct post punk feel. When this works as on opener 'Rise' the effect is electrifying but too many tracks are just loud guitar things that are nearer to the Healers than the Smiths. When Marr pushes into experimental territory as on New Dominions things get interesting and rather like early Simple Minds. Yet the six minute 'Walk Into The Sea' is just sluggish atmospheric rock music with lashings of synths. There's something 'Be Here Now' about it's preposterous over the top rock. I'm thinking.....helicopters.
With about half an album of decent stuff to play with here it's not even the best Johnny Marr solo album never mind anything else.
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