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Album Review: Johnny Marr - 'Playland' PDF Print E-mail
Written by Sam Lightle   
05 10 2014
ImageThe dreaded follow-up is often too much for some artist/bands to handle but for a musician as well integrated as Johnny Marr is, it's a breeze in the park. Well that's the impression you get when you listen to his latest record ‘Playland'...

Following on from his 2013 debut solo album ‘The Messenger', you would think ‘take a break Johnny'; especially after touring non-stop and then announcing straight away he was working on a new LP. 


But there is nothing rushed or hurried about this effort - spanning 11 tracks Marr has finally managed to get the perfect blend of his voice entwined in with his alluring guitar chords. I mean Marr without a guitar is like bread without butter; it just doesn't work and from the off in the opening track, you know it's a fine album.

The deep bass in ‘Back In The Box', keeps in touch with Marr's 80s safe haven where he started off with The Smiths and battled with the likes of Joy Division and New Order. But one difference is his soft tones which really make the song blossom. This is followed-up by the album's single ‘Easy Money', which is a lot lighter but it's a perfect specimen to show off his talents.

Nipping closely behind is ‘Dynamo' which is more of a rock n roll track with a chorus that has the potential to raise the roof at every venue that Marr plays at on his forthcoming October UK tour...

‘Candidate' brings things down a peg or two but is just as well thought out as the chords are so tangible. This is followed by an intense track that really sees Marr expand his array of music - ‘25 hours', has an exquisite guitar solo to open and the title is almost suggesting that ‘Playland' is better than just 24 hours. We want more. We want more.

And it's that track that makes you realise what the LP is about; the idea of a beautiful playland where everything is great and the desire to want more, which can lead to you falling into ‘The Trap'. This track reminds me why Marr has been at the pinnacle of guitar music for many decades. It's a smooth track that has some cool dips and lifts in the volume, but Marr's voice is on a different level.

‘Speak Out Reach Out' and ‘Boys Get Straight' really get the mind racing as they demonstrate a real statement of intent from Marr before, ‘This Tension' takes over and we get a taste of Marr's knowledge and the amount of power that comes with having knowledge.

Overall this 11 track LP has taken good ol' Johnny's solo career to another level. It's an album with a clear message, from the song titles right down to the delicate chords and the detailed lyrics. 

5/5

Release date: October 6, 2014
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