Johnny Marr: Playland review – dazzling guitars, not much intrigue

(New Voodoo)

When Johnny Marr’s debut solo album arrived in 2013, it brought with it an element of intrigue. For sure, nobody was expecting The Messenger to showcase Marr’s previously hidden Amigacore influences, but fans did wonder how the former Smiths guitarist would choose to express himself when free to go it alone. The answer, it transpired, was “exactly as you would have guessed”: dazzling guitar work, decent enough indie-rock tunes and a slight lack of vocal charisma. Playland offers no such intrigue; it just sounds a lot like The Messenger. Some tracks can be a tad (or should that be trad?) workmanlike and the snarling riffs of the title track would surely snarl some more if they were paired with a more feral frontman. Still, there’s plenty here in the gorgeous, windswept vein of Dynamo and The Trap, both of which especially suit Marr’s slender singing style.


Tim Jonze

The GuardianTramp

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