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Mr jangling guitar is right back at home

As a one-man guitarchestra fingerling, Johnny Marr created the song scaffolding for Morrissey to adorn with memorable couplets in The Smiths.

The legacy of that band's five years together in the 1980s is immense. Since then, Johnny has shunned becoming typecast as Master of the Jangling Guitar. Chameleon-like, he's worked notably as part of Electronic and The The. More recently he's been a member of Modest Mouse and worked with The Cribs. All good.


A man with few critics, Marr has a reputation for being an encouraging and helpful presence. The bands he's helped are numerous. Indeed, I can vouch for his positive influence, recalling the morale boost Light A Big Fire felt when Johnny passed on his admiration of their work on Mr Twilight, a song cult film-maker John T Davis shot a striking video for back in the day.

Now Johnny has relocated from the States to his home patch Manchester and has been enjoying himself with a bunch of mates -- recording what is officially his 12-track solo debut.

Fans of the man will be pleased to hear that he's allowed himself to get in touch with the motivations that drove him when he was starting out.

Every one of these songs comes with a catalogue of unmistakable Johnny Marr-style riffs, cadences, arpeggios, flourishes, overdubs and codas.

"You can always come back, but you can't come back all the way," sang an old rock sage. No. Not Morrissey. Bob Dylan. In a weird way, it might apply to Johnny.


While his mix of Sixties pop structures and post-punk dynamics enliven songs, like The Crack Up and European Me, his rhythm section sounds too predictable and his lyrics lack cunning.

However, the chiming grandeur of New Town Velocity and its teenage recollections are close to perfect. Ample evidence that Marr can still access the magic.

Reminiscent of an early Eighties band, Department S or The Psychedelic Furs, the twitchy Generate! Generate! is a possible grower. The Right Thing Right has a requisite modish charm. He doesn't disgrace.