Monday, 25 February 2013
Johnny Marr - The Messenger
In a world where the guitarist is king, Johnny Marr is already the king of kings but he has always been the mysterious axeman to whoever would have him. When you have such an impressive résumé it is hard to imagine why you would risk it all by putting your name on the front of a record but that’s just what Marr has done.
From opener The Right Thing Right it is clear Marr hasn’t taken too much influence from his time in The Cribs, Modest Mouse, The The or The Smiths but has instead used his first effort as a solo name to show his craftsmanship. It’s an instant hit as a rock ‘n’ roll record and an absolute pleasure to listen to. In a time when the majority of new music is coming at us in binary it is refreshing to hear something that sounds so carefully constructed upon layers of guitar, reverb and overdrive. European Me comes swaggering out like a northern Bond theme while Upstarts has a definite air of his time with the Jarman brothers.
The important thing to remember about Johnny Marr is he seems to have the Midas touch and it looks as though his luck has continued onto his first solo effort. With a legacy of album credits to his name he knows what will and what won’t work and the whole thing feels very cathartic, as though he were just waiting for the breathing space to go it alone and create something as wholly good as The Messenger. This isn’t a cash in by any stretch of the imagination, this is a musician showing just what is capable with two hands and six strings.
Generate! Generate! shows why Marr deserves the Godlike Genius award pressed into his callous covered fingertips this week. At nearly fifty years of age he is making music beyond that of the upstarts who only started playing guitar to be like him. Say Demesne could carry anyone away like a tide in love while Sun And Moon powers through with a level of scuzz reminiscent of BRMC.
If this is what Marr has been squirreling away behind the frontmen he was expertly puppetering then it was well worth the wait.