Originally published on Hooting & Howling


After countless collaborations, musical feats and a previous part in some small band from Manchester, Johnny Marr has a lot to live up to and since the announcement of his debut solo album ‘The Messenger’, his exceeding reputation has been a key focus. However today it appears that this may no longer be a problem as ‘The Messenger‘ is just as brilliant as any part of music Marr has played a part of in the past- perhaps better.

The Right Thing Right’ struts in with the expected indie rock standards, strangely upbeat compared to his past exploits, which plays without a guitar jangle in sight, but still some fine guitar pop indeed. The vocals are not as weak as first rumoured, blending in effortlessly with the tracks in a cleverly conceived way, managing to highlight the understated brilliance of his lyrics throughout, particularly in ‘New Town Velocity’.

It’s increasingly hard to pick stand-out tracks as both the incredible sound and songwriting skill of Marr is apparent in every track  almost entirely without fault, however recent single ‘Upstarts’ seems to have been cruelly stolen from the catalog of Modest Mouse and radiates the positivity that sums up the entire LP while ‘Generate Generate’ brings back ghosts of guitars past with undeniably indie riffs and a stirring call to arms style chant. ‘The Messenger’ too seems just as catchy and lull-inducing as before and- along with album closer ‘Word Starts Attack’ – the bassline in particular suggests The Smiths are still very much in mind. The great ones just keep coming.

As the album draws to a close, the tracks are more melancholic and lose the strut a little but by this point, Marr has already created another album comprised from a genius that hasn’t been lost in 30 years, and for that alone‘The Messenger’ cannot quite be ignored.