Johnny Marr - Playland - Albums - Reviews - Soundblab

Johnny Marr - Playland

by Nse Ette Rating:7 Release Date:2014-10-07

Johnny Marr's 2013 solo debut, The Messenger, came some 25 years after the split of The Smiths. Not that he hasn't been busy since then, with stints with Electronic, Modest Mouse to The Cribs, but he appeared reluctant to go solo. His sophomore effort, Playland, has him making up for lost time coming barely a year after his debut and is similarly filled with shimmying guitars and gorgeous melodies.

Lacking the vocal and lyrical charisma of his fellow Smiths alumnus Morrissey, he more than makes up for this with his guitar dexterity. 'Back in the Box' and the similar title track are driving rockers with frenzied drumming, while 'Easy Money' has a dancey groove, razor-sharp synths and lyrics decrying greed. He does overuse the word "money" but the song is so catchy he's forgiven.

'Candidate' is a gorgeous ballad with chiming guitars, '25 Hours' bops around on a skittery beat, the gentle 'The Trap' is sunny and catchy recalling The Cribs, while the atmospheric 'This Tension' finds him declaring himself "a conceptual son with an intellectual gun protector".

This is a natural progression from his debut, with nods here and there to The Smiths. Here's hoping Marr remains this prolific and creative.

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