Johnny Marr seems to be the only lasting member of The Smiths not hell bent on destroying his reputation. Whilst Morrissey is out in the world making questionable choices, Mr Marr is taking everything in and making forward thinking rock albums. Call The Comet is Marr’s third solo record, and one of his most intriguing yet.
It is obvious from the start that Marr does not sit in a high castle ignoring any music released after 1989. Opener Rise is heavily indebted to the grungier style of Wolf Alice, the driving riff pulsating down to the song’s very core. There are contemporary references & flourishes picked up by Marr throughout this record, which are part of what make it not just another old man with an electric guitar.
Hi Hello looks more like a throwback than a fast-forward, but the Police-esque guitars have a comforting familiarity to them. Even when he is the frontman to his own solo project, Marr never feels quite centre stage enough – choosing instead to occupy the same level as many of the instruments. It may not be as emphatic a return as many would have liked, but it’s a sign of Marr playing the ultimate long game; refusing to be yet another classic artist whose comeback is plagued by average-ness.
There is a late frontrunner for best track, but it ultimately belongs to Spiral Cities – which sees Marr branch off into a near trance-like state which is as trippy as staring at an optical illusion for one minute too long. The choruses may not be the most powerful in the world, but gosh darn they are certainly clever!
To know that Johnny Marr survived the slew of ‘iconic’ comebacks from bands in the past 10 years, is to know that a true genius rarely shows signs of weakness. Call The Comet is a smart and well packaged record that delivers in every aspect, it’s only failing being that at times Marr is lost in a sea of delightful instrumentation.