Johnny Marr: Fever Dreams Pts 1-4 review – dancefloor-friendly double album

Marr trades post-punk guitar for energetic electro-indie in a hopeful, pandemic-processing 16-track opus

Whether Johnny Marr’s first new music in four years is a double album or four discrete four-track EPs is very much up to the listener, with the first eight tracks here already released last year, and the remainder also coming out on a pair of 12-inches later in 2022. What’s clear, however, is that Marr has shifted slightly from the post-punk stylings that characterised 2018’s excellent Call the Comet. Whereas that felt very much a guitar album, it’s keyboards that take centre stage here on a set of energetic, electro-indie cuts that are as dancefloor-friendly as anything he has been involved with since Electronic. There are echoes of early-00s Primal Scream in places, too, most notably on Tenement Time.

While not explicitly about the pandemic, its effects still dictate the mood of Fever Dreams, whether in the sense of foreboding evoked by Receiver’s riff or the reflections on lockdowns’ disorienting telescoping of time on Counter-Clock World, or even just the title. All of which makes the hope provided by redemptive closer Human all the more welcome. If there’s a criticism, it’s that spread across 16 tracks there’s no ignoring the homogeneity of much of the material. Perhaps it is better listened to as a set of EPs after all.

Watch the video for Johnny Marr’s Tenement Time.


Phil Mongredien

The GuardianTramp

Related Content

Article image
Johnny Marr: Call the Comet review – his best solo album yet
(New Voodoo/Warner)

Damien Morris

17, Jun, 2018 @7:00 AM

Article image
Johnny Marr: The Messenger – review

Johnny Marr's second solo album is like a whistlestop tour through his musical career – and will be loved all the better for that, writes Michael Hann

Michael Hann

24, Feb, 2013 @12:04 AM

Article image
Johnny Marr: ‘A middle-aged musician nursing a hangover is a dead duck’
The former Smiths guitarist on his new album, avoiding political pronouncements, and his long marriage to Angie

Barbara Ellen

09, Jun, 2018 @5:00 PM

Article image
Johnny Marr: soundtrack of my life

The former Smiths guitarist tells Craig McLean about his love for Chic, bonding with Morrissey over Bob and Marcia and the raw power of the Stooges

Craig McLean

29, Jun, 2013 @11:04 PM

Article image
Johnny Marr – review

The dapper 49-year-old doesn't stint on the Smiths numbers, but his light, attractive voice is better suited to his new album – aired in full tonight, writes Caroline Sullivan

Caroline Sullivan

15, Mar, 2013 @5:33 PM

Article image
Lonely Boy by Steve Jones; Set The Boy Free by Johnny Marr review – setting the record straight
Contrasting memoirs of life in the Sex Pistols and the Smiths from two charismatic working-class guitarists

Jude Rogers

20, Nov, 2016 @6:30 AM

Article image
Send us your questions for Johnny Marr
Got something to ask the prolific Mancunian guitar hero? Send it our way and we’ll put it to him

01, Jan, 2022 @9:00 AM

Article image
Róisín Murphy review – a triumphant dancefloor workout
At once introspective and deeply theatrical, Murphy’s tough, savvy dance music proves irresistible – not least to the singer herself

Kitty Empire

25, Sep, 2021 @1:00 PM

Article image
Johnny Marr: ‘When I play Smiths songs I experience this huge wave of elation’
On the eve of his new double album, the acclaimed songwriter takes questions from musicians, politicians and readers

Tim Lewis

06, Feb, 2022 @8:00 AM

Article image
Pet Shop Boys: Hotspot review – evergreen dancefloor nous

Kitty Empire

26, Jan, 2020 @9:00 AM