Johnny Marr Call The Comet

Album Review: “Call The Comet” by Johnny Marr

Johnny Marr stands on a stage of British rock legends. After his iconic spell as lead guitarist and co-songwriter of The Smiths, the Manchester rocker has established a stellar solo career. Four years after the release of his second solo LP, Call The Comet vividly looks to the future with a sense of optimism and yearning. The album’s timeless sound anchors his strongest solo work to date. At this point in time, Marr and his ex-bandmate Morrissey couldn’t be any more different.

The album commences with the exhilarating and urgent ‘Rise.’ Here, Marr invites the listener to escape with him. The synths and guitar riffs are packed with an attitude that is less troublesome and more positively energetic. This merry marriage continues in ‘My Eternal,’ which beams with the sound of early 80s synthpop.

‘The Tracers’ is a terrific example of Call The Comet’s multifaceted, nostalgic, yet futuristic outlook. It manages to throwback to The Rolling Stones’ ‘Sympathy for the Devil,’ and then just shoots itself into space. This sends a lightning bolt through the album’s imagined world. Alternatively, ‘Hey Angel’ gleams with a glam rock outfit, with its roaring guitar solos and vocals. Similarly, the infectious and roaring ‘Bug’ has the potential to be a wonderful live track for Marr.

Johnny Marr at Neumos, Seattle (2013).
Johnny Marr at Neumos, Seattle (2013). Courtesy of David Lee (Flickr).

The melodic yet haunting ‘Day In Day Out’ and ‘Hi Hello’ could have been recorded for The Smiths’ The Queen is Dead. The former track echoes the Britpop era and its loving relationship with the sixties, which is also heard more strongly in ‘A Different Gun.’ On the other hand, ‘Hi Hello’ echoes the melancholic ‘There is a Light That Never Goes Out.’ Both are as transcendental as they are timeless.

‘Walk Into The Sea’ momentarily takes the album down a different road of ambiance. Piano melodies and atmospheric, wandering vocals front the first third of the track. However, Marr reminds us that he is a deity when it comes to guitar choruses, and returns with one of the album’s strongest messages: “I let the sun wave decide my fate because hope is all I need.” We then feel the tingling sensations of being on the edge of something immense, and it is these sensations that permeate an album which undeniably looks onwards and upwards.

The final verdict

In sum, Johnny Marr’s Call The Comet ponders a hopeful future. It truly is an extensive showcase of Marr’s spectacular rock odyssey. The electric partnership of synthesiser pulses and guitar riffs creates a strong, guitar-driven album viewed through a pair of cosmic sunglasses. Johnny Marr’s future is so bright, he gotta wear shades!

See you in November, Johnny!

From Sophia with Love x


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