The incomparable Johnny Marr will finally release his solo debut early next year (evidently Boomslang was a “Healers” album). Recorded in Manchester and Berlin and mastered at Abbey Road, The Messenger is the guitar icon’s first real crack at a post-Smiths artistic statement.
The title track and first single pretty well encapsulates what he’s been up to since his break-up with Morrissey. There are the slightly jangly hooks from his days with Modest Mouse and The Cribs mixed with the atmospherics and studio polish of Electronic.
His vocals are more confident — and more processed — than his work with The Healers, but they’re secondary to the fretwork. The song begins simply enough, but the bassline groove helps build to a densely layered finish highlighted by handclaps and a trippy backward guitar solo:
Not necessarily groundbreaking, but more than enough to leave me wanting for more. The Messenger arrives February 26th on Warner Bros.