Johnny Marr: Call the Comet (New Voodoo) Review | Under the Radar Magazine Under the Radar | Music Blog for the Indie Music Magazine
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Johnny Marr

Call the Comet

New Voodoo

Jun 15, 2018 Johnny Marr Bookmark and Share

When The Smiths ended their short but stellar career, there was no doubt the two most prominent members, Johnny Marr and Morrissey, would continue on successfully and impart their individuality upon the world of rock music. The big question being who would have the easiest time going solo and emerge from the shadows of their successful band, the lyricist and lead singer (Morrissey) or the guitarist and principal songwriter (Marr)?

Thirty-one years later, and it’s still unclear; mainly because Marr didn’t start his solo career until 2013. While Morrissey’s solo output includes over a dozen records that started the year after The Smiths disbanded, Marr carried on by hooking up with other notable musicians/bands. Through the years leading up to 2013, Marr hooked up with Bernard Sumner (New Order) and Neil Tennant (Pet Shop Boys) to form Electronic, had successful stints in The The, Modest Mouse, and The Cribs, and even formed another short-lived band called Johnny Marr + the Healers, before deciding to go it alone with the release of The Messenger followed by Playland in 2014. The next chapter in his solo story is his third record, Call the Comet.

Those familiar with Marr’s work will undoubtedly have a good idea of what to expect and they aren’t wrong; a healthy helping of aesthetically layered guitar swells and creative signature traits artfully interwoven into a classic rock foundation. But that’s just the tip of the iceberg. With sharpened songwriting skills and an improved voice, Marr pulls out all the stops with a track to track shift in style and mood, but stays true to rock principles on each to avoid an uneven venture.

At times it’s virtually impossible not to wish the distinctive and carping vocals of Morrissey would come through the speakers, but what Marr lacks in the vocal department he more than makes up for in the music department. Deep sonic layers are exposed with each listen to reveal a treasure chest of rich guitar textures, tight bass lines, and clever pop nuances that only get better over time. Although a bit rough around the edges, and not always as crisp and clear as one might expect, it’s the perfect backdrop for Marr’s lead guitar magic. Standout tracks such as “Hey Angel,” the Smiths-like “Day In Day Out” and “A Different Gun,” and the radio-friendly “Hi Hello” prove Marr isn’t too old to let loose on occasion with bits of refined high energy boosts brought to life with expressive guitar playing.

There is nothing pretentious about Call the Comet, just gobs of alluring, guitar-based rock, tipping the scale in favor of Marr over Morrissey. (

Author rating: 7.5/10

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Average reader rating: 8/10


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