Johnny Marr: Call the Comet review – his best solo album yet

(New Voodoo/Warner)

Johnny Marr’s voice, then. Not great at conveying specific emotions. And his lyrics, however heartfelt, can’t pick up that slack. And there’s the fleeting feeling – you’ll recognise it from any Noel Gallagher album – that these songs might be better with a stronger singer. It rarely matters here, though. Call the Comet is a resounding success, the first of Marr’s three solo albums to feel properly crafted. The loose thread it follows is that, in turbulent times, even the simple act of picking up a guitar and making music is political.

While the first three songs are enjoyable monitor-straddlers, brashly grinding and strutting, they don’t best suit Marr’s wispy croon. The single Hi Hello is shimmeringly brilliant, good enough to be a lost Smiths single, but it’s from the fifth track onwards that the album takes a left turn or two and becomes genuinely fascinating.

Trying to locate the yet-undiscovered common ground between Metal Guru and Blue Monday, there’s a shoal of industrial-tinged, futuristic pop rockers exploring Marr’s ideas of utopia that have all the mystery and wonder of the guitarist’s greatest work, allied to a perky, playful escapism that’s completely irresistible.

Watch the video for Walk Into the Sea by Johnny Marr.


Damien Morris

The GuardianTramp

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