Johnny Marr : The Messenger


44.1KHZ/24-BIT ALAC/FLAC/WAV, Sire Records (supplied by

One of the great under-rated guitarists of our age, Johnny Marr has never hitherto delivered a solo album. This first shows he can engineer a dynamite opening – nearly every tune here gallops from the gate all jingle and shine, the opening ‘The Right Thing Right’ most of all, a slice of pure Manchester with signature foghorn guitar howl. Marr knows his soundcraft, weaving and embroidering close-patterned textures and grooves from his jangles and noodles. Some tracks deliver on this promise: ‘Sun And Moon’ is alive with layered guitars; ‘Upstarts’ hangs onto its groove with appealingly off-kilter ’80s atonality. Others, meh, not so much: the drums drag down ‘Lockdown’ as its Britpop vocal and recurring riffline fixate drearily (Morrissey-like) on minor thirds and fifths respectively; the title track is similarly moody and meritless. But don’t miss that opener. JF

Sound Quality: 80%

Hi-Fi News Lab Report

The driving riffs and accompanying drums regularly hit –1dBFs to 0dBFs while ‘quiet’ interludes are rarely <–15dBFs. Illustrative of much modern rock/pop output that makes little attempt to utilise its potential dynamic range. PM