Published: Wednesday, March 6, 2013
Updated: Wednesday, March 6, 2013 00:03
Being part of a highly influential band from the 80s, and then releasing a solo album in 2013 might seem like a ridiculous idea for any artist from that era to undertake. Yet, Johnny Marr is no ordinary artist. The guitarist and co-songwriter for The Smiths, at almost 50 years old, recently released his first solo album, The Messenger.
Interjecting influences from Modest Mouse, The Pet Shop Boys, and other bands he’s been in, Marr switches up the vibrancy of his tones with each new song.
Labeling The Messenger only as indie rock would be a misnomer. With elements of British garage, indie, and new wave alternative, Marr lights up each song with his wonderful guitar work. If there is one consistency in the entire album it’s the signature English-sounding rock guitar stamp of approval.
Standout tracks include “European Me,” “Lockdown, ” and “Generate! Generate!” These quality tracks take the rocker’s skills with a guitar and amplify them into arena-filling riffs and grooves worthy of being on the same level as Smiths classics.
“The Right Thing Right,” and “Word Starts Attack” dial down the awesomeness, yet are still satisfying, complete with the British crunchiness and catchy factor. “The Messenger,” not quite as catchy in its guitar work, still manages to weave a synth fabric around the simple but direct set of lyrics.
Johnny Marr comes from a group that defined a sound for a generation of listeners. Despite his age, Marr’s eclectic library of sounds and ideas has fortified the solidity of his solo debut.
His work is tight, and on the verge of being great. As a youthful 50-year-old, he is proving that his best years are not behind him and The Messenger is a must hear for any Smiths fans.