Album Review: Johnny Marr – Call the Comet

Article by Andrés Alvarado

In a sense, notoriety and fame has cast a dark cloud over Johnny Marr‘s career. See, forming part of one the most influential and important bands of the eighties, The Smiths, has pigeon-holed Marr to constantly live in the shadow of his former outfit. While this Manchester-based guitar legend has associated himself with plenty of acts over the subsequent years, Marr never quite shook off that Smiths’ co-captain label. Nonetheless, Call the Comet is not only Johnny Marr’s third solo effort, but also the man artistically piercing brightly through that cloudy mess that’s hovered over him. This is Johnny Marr at his creative best in quite some time.

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Call the Comet revolves around the idea of a not so distant utopia in an alternative society – far from the Brexit folks and Trumps of our current dystopian present. Marr’s vision for Call the Comet is loosely tied to the idealism of a world that level-headed humans strive for. Latest single “Hi Hello” (which heavily favors Patti Smith‘s “Danicing Barefoot“) lends itself as catchy slice of Brit-pop bursting of swirling guitars and soothing foot-tap vibes. While “The Tracers” incorporates yesteryear Blade Runner-like sounds of the future through a thumping bass-line and semi-potent drums that neatly fuse to structure a pop-rock masterpiece.

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The space-age melancholic flair of the enthralling “Walk Into The Sea” arguably sits at the cusp of Call the Comets. A daydream-like organ-n-strings drenched melody that reins supreme over Marr’s solid baritone. On the other hand, single “Day In Day Out” showcases Marr delving deep into his shredding mastery – which serves as a swift reminder of Marr’s otherworldly creativity and abilities on those Fender guitars.

Rounding out the album’s nucleus are the galaxy of dreamy synths anchored to “Actor Attractor,” the 90s alt-garage sensitivities behind “Spiral Cities,” the scaling and catchy riffs attached to “Bug,” and the rock complexities surrounding the unapologetic lyricism to “A Different Gun” – which was inspired by the Bastille Day attack of 2016.

Overall, Call the Comet is the work of a rock icon with a bottomless thirst for reinvention and innovation. It is 2018 and Mr. Marr has set a brand new fucking bar for himself. This son of England’s oasis-themed cosmic-drizzled offering is an exciting and uplifting record that’s on a collision course with those best-of-the-year lists come December. Cheers!

Score: 8.5/10 — Key Tracks:Walk Into the Sea,” “Hi Hello,” “Bug,” “Day In Day Out,” and “The Tracers.”

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