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    Johnny Marr

    The Messenger 6 ( 2013 )
    The Right Thing Right / I Want the Heartbeat / European Me / Upstarts / Lockdown / The Messenger / Generate! Generate! / Say Demesne / Sun & Moon / The Crack Up / New Town Velocity / Word Starts Attack

    The biggest upset here is the fact Johnny Marr has chosen to sing not like Morrissey but Bernard Sumner from New Order/Electronic. The opener 'The Right Thing Right' even sees fit to sound like Electronic minus the electronic, if you will. The 2nd song sees Johnny trying to be Joy Division, minus Joy Division, or even a small sense of misery. He finally remembers he was once in a group called 'The Smiths', although continues to sing like a poor mans Bernard Sumner when third song 'European Me' arrives. Jangly, shining guitars and a golden chorus jogs something in a Morrissey fan - as does the cleaness of the guitars. By the way, the credits for this album are revealing. Joe Moss - management. Johnny Marr - ARP Omni, drums, guitars, keyboards, Memory Moog synthesiser, primary artist, producer, vocals. A few other people are mentioned including Sonny Marr - atmosphere. 'Upstarts' is the lead single and sees Johnny finally find his own voice as a vocalist and lyricist - essentially nothing to write home about yet the smashing - smashing as in good - guitars joyfully sing. 'Lockdown' and 'The Messenger' meanwhile make you wonder how this could be the same man who wrote the music for 'Boy With A Thorn In His Side', 'How Soon Is Now' or 'This Charming Man'. These tracks are the eiptome of shined and polished average. The title track in particular is poor with Johnny seemingly by design trying to sound like solo Ian Brown, formerly of The Stone Roses, with Bernard Sumner thrown in for good measure. May as well listen to a Bernard Sumner solo album - and you will get your chance too when a New Order line-up minus Peter Hook comes to a record emporium near you.

    'Sun & Moon' is garage rock, plain and simple. 'Say Desene' and 'The Crack Up, put quite simply, aren't They are not anything really and haven't encouraged Johnny Marr bashing among the critics in the same way every single solo Morrissey track does. Morrissey isn't The Smiths but isn't allowed to not be The Smiths, whereas Johnny Marr producing music so not distinctive this could be almost anyone - apparently gets away scott-free. Well, you can now clearly see which side of the line I tumble across. 'New Town Velocity' arrives, thankfully sounding like an actual composition and not a bunch of riffs thrown together. Essentially 'New Town Velocity' is a Smiths tune sung by Bernard Sumner and about as good as the album gets. The record ends with 'Word Starts Attach', a 'Meat Is Murder' rocker updated for the 21st century, with Johnny this time trying to sound like god only knows who vocally. I'm trying to place it, i'm trying to place it. Maybe he sounds like a sober Shaun Ryder, if such a thing can even be imagined.

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    this page last updated 01/08/15


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