Release Date: Jun 15, 2018
Record label: New Voodoo
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock
Rather than wallow in the mire of the now, Johnny Marr dreams of a better tomorrow on his bold and inspiring third solo album Johnny Marr‘s flowery and kaleidoscopic guitarwork offset against the dour and foreboding musings of Morrissey created that oddly obverse yet symbiotic dynamic that made The Smiths so essential. Who’d ever have imagined that over three decades later, their yin and yang would have moved into the realm of politics? Moz’s comments about Halal meat, Sadiq Khan’s accent and how Hitler was ‘left wing‘ (not to mention appearing to defend EDL co-founder Tommy Robinson) had more than a few Smiths devotees contemplating tearing up their fan club cards earlier this year. Fortunately, Marr is at hand with a much more liberal message.
Call the Comet is the third album that Marr has fashioned under his own name, belatedly trailing the quick succession of The Messenger in 2013 and Playland in 2014. After the one-two punch of those albums he (naturally) took something of a left turn into projects such as his memoir, Set the Boy Free, and a collaboration with composer Hans Zimmer. The amount of time that lapsed between Playland and Call the Comet is more than enough for a musician known to be restless like Marr to do considerable remaking, so it speaks to his assuredness about the Messenger/Playland mode that Call the Comet slides so easily right next to that pair some four years later.
Like many citizens of Earth in the year 2018, Johnny Marr wishes he could live in a different world. Sorting through the political wreckage of 2016 and its twin seismic shocks, Brexit and Donald J. Trump winning the American presidency, the former Smiths guitarist wondered what it would be like to reside in an alternate universe, one that valued kindness, curiosity, and intelligence instead of crassness and cash.
'Call The Comet' is easily Johnny Marr's most confident solo album. Lead single 'The Tracers' sets the tone, executing a perfect balance between Marr's iconic guitar style and more experimental production. Unfortunately, this balance is sometimes lacking on the rest of the album. 'New Dominium' is far too self-aware in its attempts to be different, while penultimate track 'My Eternal' also suffers from an ambitious backdrop that isn't helped by Marr's overly distorted vocals.