Johnny Marr – Playland the review


A year after the warmly received The Messenger, everyone’s favourite guitarist is back with his leanest collection of tracks. So, is it worthy of a place amongst his very best stuff?

Early signs were encouraging after an electrifying set in the Wedgewood Rooms in August, the new stuff seemed that night to fit seamlessly into a set that spanned his career. Early release, and to me stand out, track Easy Money sounded great on the night and sounded just as good when it began to receive a lot of play on radio.

The album opens strongly with Back in the Box. A slightly stronger rock sound than most of The Messenger, it really sets the tone. By the time Easy Money kicks in there is a feeling this is a work of a man on top of his game.

Dynamo has a familiarity to it, especially for the band Temples (of which Marr is a fan) a slightly Psychedelic sounding track, needless to say, with some quality guitar work. Candidate and 25 Hours both prove strong. The former holding a particularly familiar similar Johnny Marr guitar sound.

The Trap has echoes of his brilliant collaboration as Electronic. Clearly his long career will bring so many comparisons, then again that is no bad thing. There is very little that he’s touched you wouldn’t want to listen to. The title track seems to take the works of the Palma Violets and step it up a gear.

There is little in the way of filler throughout the entire album. The remaining tracks all have elements of what makes Johnny Marr so special especially This Tension which is quite brilliant.

So overall an excellent record. Certainly one of a man whose prepared to step out of the shadows of his former works, step up to the front and deliver on all counts. Granted there isn’t anything quite like There is a Light but let’s be honest, how likely is that to happen again!

This will feature very highly on my end of year selection.


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