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.

Contributor

Tim Jonze

The GuardianTramp

Related Content

Article image
Johnny Marr: Call the Comet review – the light that never went out
Marr’s best solo album is humane, melodic and authoritative, in contrast to the other former Smith, Morrissey – surely his time is now?

Michael Hann

15, Jun, 2018 @8:30 AM

Article image
Johnny Marr on the Smiths, Morrissey and putting politics back in pop

With the release of his first solo album The Messenger, the former Smiths guitarist talks to Dave Simpson about finally embracing his old sound, David Cameron and why he and Morrissey don't talk any more

Dave Simpson

11, Jan, 2013 @7:00 AM

Johnny Marr: The Messenger – review

The guitar legend's first solo album proper edges back towards the vintage jangly sounds – but you can't help imagining it with a certain singer, writes Dave Simpson

Dave Simpson

21, Feb, 2013 @10:35 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
Johnny Marr review – Manchester rock royalty wrests legacy back from Morrissey
Marr plays Smiths showstoppers, spliced with songs from new album Call the Comet, and is unafraid to tackle Morrissey’s vocal pirouettes

Mark Beaumont

17, May, 2018 @12:42 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: 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: Call the Comet review – his best solo album yet
(New Voodoo/Warner)

Damien Morris

17, Jun, 2018 @7:00 AM

New music: Johnny Marr – The Right Thing Right

Johnny Marr's first tune from his debut solo album features a rush of guitars and perhaps the only known instance of him shouting 'whoo!'

Michael Cragg

04, Dec, 2012 @3:19 PM

Johnny Marr – The Messenger: exclusive album stream

Listen to the sprightly debut solo album from the former Smiths guitarist and let us know your thoughts

18, Feb, 2013 @11:31 AM