Johnny Marr - The Messenger The Messenger… Marred by unoriginality

Review: Johnny Marr – The Messenger

Published on March 5th, 2013 | Jonny Abrams

Lofty expectations: rightly or wrongly, they’re unavoidable when you’ve been the guitarist of The Smiths. Even with a certain amount of detachment, though, Johnny Marr’s debut solo album The Messenger only just about passes muster in an energised yet ultimately prosaic, Miles Kane/The Rifles sort of way.

Opener “The Right Thing Right” pounds along satisfyingly enough on one of those “I Am the Resurrection”/”Rocks” sorts of beats – the crunchy guitars and melodic sensibility both hit the mark, anyway – but that same basic rhythm is applied to what feels like about half the album, with the other half handled by the sort of ‘indie-disco’ beat that bored Rocksucker ten years ago and still bores us now.

If you’re looking for relatively uncomplicated indie-rock with the odd unmistakable touch of class here and there, you’ll have come to the right place by nabbing a copy of this. Otherwise, you might find yourself tearing your hair out when the nice Pixies dissonance at the start of “Lockdown” and popping, Alex James-y bass “The Crack Up” fail to develop into anything particularly noteworthy and wind up mere fleeting moments of interest in a polished yet uninspiring set.

“European Me”, “Generate! Generate!” and “Word Starts Attack” are all more exciting titles than actual songs, and there’s really not a whole lot more to say about The Messenger. Sorry.

Rocksucker says: Two and a Half Quails out of Five!

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The Messenger is out now.  For more information, please visit www.johnny-marr.com

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About the Author

Editor of Rocksucker and the website's founder, Jonny is passionate about the music he listens to, both good and bad, as well as interviewing his favourite musicians.