The Mancunian indie rock guitar star has worked with everyone from Bernard Sumner to Nile Rodgers via Black Grape, and his musical range here is just as wide. The album kicks off with Spirit, Power And Soul, a huge, surging slice of rapturous electro gospel powered by a driving dance beat.
Johnny’s guitar parts are effective but they don’t dominate. His soulful lyrics set the tone: “Yesterday is gone/ Today I’m on the run/How strange tomorrow will be”.
Receiver opens with dark, ominous chords before accelerating into another upbeat banger. Ghoster, built on a bluesy riff, references the Buddhist wheel of dharma.
Sensory Street channels 80s synth pop, with Gary Numanstyle jerkiness, a propulsive beat and a trippy chorus as Marr sings: “Noise and rhythm in the golden haze burn that noise in the danger zone”.
It couldn’t be more different from The Smiths’ This Charming Man if Marr had recorded an album of sea shanties. The Whirl is rockier, with a lead guitar that winds, swirls and soars. The verse nags away like a bad tooth, with lyrics that are unlikely to please Home Office officials.
Instantly catchy Tenement Times is perfect for festival crowds. Hideaway Girl packs a potent rock riff. Counter Clock World is the closest Johnny comes to punk.
Lightning People is slower and dreamy. The prowling, unsettling All These Days builds into another massive chorus. Human is gentler but still vast.
You wonder who he’s addressing on the urgent God’s Gift. Is “your holiness” the pontiff, or someone closer to home, like, say, an ex-bandmate?
Decades have passed since Marr last worked with Morrissey, but Heaven knows he’s magnificent now.
Published at Fri, 25 Feb 2022 14:32:24 +0000