Fever Dreams Pts 1 - 4 - Johnny Marr
After the misstep that was Johnny & The Healers, Johnny Marr's solo career has been nothing but leap forward followed by leap forward. Each album has got better and better. His singing voice just improves with every outing. And his live shows are brilliant. (see Johnny Marr, Electric Ballroom, Camden, 23rd September 2021).
Although half the set of his live shows are songs by The Smiths and Electronic, frankly if he just played his solo stuff, I would be delighted. That's not to say he can't do justice to his old band's hits, he really can.
And now this double album is 16 songs of adventurous, belting tunes and is yet another progression. Spirit, Power and Soul is a throbbing piece of electro rock, Receiver is a soundtrack in one song, and Ariel is pulsing, the song Electronic should have made, but never quite did.
Lightning People is psychedelic and its chant reminds me of Soul Mining era The The (not an album Marr played on, but he's played songs from it live with them and clearly holds Matt Johnson in great esteem).
The pandemic informs songs like Hideaway Girl and Sensory Street, the former repeating "Every day is a fever dream", while the latter cries "all fucked up on remote control". Johnny didn't twiddle his thumbs during lockdown.
Counter Clock World is the song The Chameleons should be coming back with, while Tenement Time has a Joy Division feel. Rubicon is all stately, Goth synths - it's very dramatic.
It's not all perfect - God's Gift is plodding, padding....it's the song Electronic did make on their last album. And it's long - a little too long. But it's a great album, and even better, Mrs JO'B got me a signed copy so it's got pride of place in my record collection!
For fans of: The Smiths, Doves, New Order