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ALBUM REVIEW: "Call The Comet" by Johnny Marr

"Call The Comet" is the latest solo album from former Smiths guitarist Johnny Marr.
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ALBUM REVIEW: Johnny Marr – Call The Comet (Sire) 2018

While I’ve been a fan of Johnny Marr since those final years he was the inspiring jangle-guitarist for The Smiths, his solo material has been a bit patchy, while fellow, former Smith – Morrissey – seemed to stick his foot in his mouth with increasing frequency and appall countless Smiths fans with his offensive, right-wing demagoguery.

At least we can count on Johnny Marr, right?

Back in early 2015, we gave Marr’s Playland album 3/5 Rusties, the new record – Call The Comet – has a more cohesive album feel about it. This is, after all, Johnny Fucking Marr, folks!

The first two tracks – “Rise” and “The Tracers” – showcase the guitar-pop-n-rock sound Marr is so identified with. And by the third song, “Hey Angel,” we get Marr in a particularly creative mood, not just lyrically (“Her kiss upon me, comes to me like a ghost”), but he is really allowing himself to cut loose on his axe.

That Manchester moodiness really surfaces on the gloomy, jangle-rocker “Hi Hello” with keyboardist Doviak throwing in some notes that are reminiscent of “There Is A Light That Never Goes Out.” In fact, the two songs seem like twins, separated at birth, and reunited nearly 35 years later.

And while you think Marr is going to coast on his guitar bona fides, he goes a bit electro-experimental with “New Dominions,” while jumping back into his familiar style with a  12-string acoustic guitar strumming away on the opening of “Day In Day Out,” which allows Marr’s band – along with bassist Iwan Gronow and drummer Jack Mitchell – to showcase their talents (although I would have mixed Gronow’s bass a little higher).

And like a comet careening through the cosmos, Call The Comet continues on a most-appealing trajectory, allowing for Marr to philosophize and generate a thoughtful and even powerful. percussive mood on “Actor Attractor.” I can only imagine how this one sounds live. Definitely one of my favorite songs on this record.

That said, it's followed by "Spiral Cities," another indie-pop rocker that offers the listener a chance to open their eyes a little wider, particularly in a digitally-connected world where we are faraway, so close.

Overall, Call The Comet is a strong record from Marr, probably his strongest to date. He did not skimp on content or quality and for that we are grateful.

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Andrew W. Griffin

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Andrew W. Griffin received his Bachelor of Science in Journalism from...

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Red Dirt Report was launched July 4, 2007 as an independent news website covering all manner of news, culture, entertainment and lifestyle stories that affect and interest Oklahoma readers and readers outside of our state. Our mission is to educate, promote civic engagement and discourse on public policy, government and politics. Our experienced journalists provided balanced in-depth coverage of news stories that affect Oklahomans. Our opinion/editorial stories come from a wide range of political view points. We carry out our mission by reporting, writing, and posting news and information. read more

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