25 September 2023

Call The Comet

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Reviewed by Ian Phillips.

By Johnny Marr, Warner Music Group 2018.

This is one of the most impressive rock albums that I’ve listened to in some time.

Johnny Marr is an English musician best known as the guitarist (and co-writer with Morrissey) of The Smiths but he is a talented singer and songwriter in his own right.

Since the demise of The Smiths he has performed with The Pretenders, The The, Electronic, Modest Mouse and The Cribs as well as becoming a prolific session musician.

In fact his list of credits is quite eclectic, from Talking Heads to Paul McCartney.

Call The Comet is his third solo effort and I think it’s the best so far.

From the opening track, the energy is high, hard-driving rock, creating a wall of sound that is beautifully produced so that the more you listen the more the songs open up and new sounds emerge.

Johnny’s trademark, jangle pop, guitar sound is prevalent throughout the album.

He has been described as arguably England’s last great guitar stylist by Phil Alexander, Editor in Chief of Mojo.

His style is more about atmospherics than virtuoso lead breaks, fulfilling much the same sort of role as The Edge in U2.

There are so many highlights to this album that it’s hard to single out just a few.

Hey Angel, is a cracker of a track.

I particularly like the incredible texture to the recording and his carefully selected solo.

He plays very few notes but only what’s needed. No indulgence.

And that’s also part of his allure.

You get the feeling with Johnny Marr that the song is the primary focus, not his exceptional guitar playing.

That’s not something that can often be said when it comes to guitar virtuosos who are seldom shrinking violets when it comes to inhabiting the limelight.

Songs vary in their speeds and layering but never in their vitality.

Day in Day Out starts with an acoustic guitar intro before branching into a fully formed aural explosion with another carefully selected minimalist guitar solo.

I thoroughly recommend this album it joins my current playlist of albums that deserve many listens.

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