Marr's output since the Smiths has been erratic to say the least. True there was some interesting work with Modest Mouse and the Cribs although far from earth shattering. Yet you continue to hope that the god like genius of one of our greatest rock guitarists will eventually be rekindled and shine through. Sadly on this new album some of the old chops are back but stuck in songs which essentially sound like Brit Pop and in the case of "The Trap" a sort of second division New Order. The other problem is that Marr's slender voice really does not stand out from the crowd to the extent that if you heard for example "Easy Money" on the radio you might think it was the Kaiser Chiefs.
There are some redeeming tracks for example "25 Hours" has all those trademark guitar sounds combined with an Underworld style song that works really well. When Marr does cut loose on "Boys get straight" you ears perk up and a broad grin covers your face. Sadly with other tracks like the sort of sub Interpol "Candidate" and the dreary "Speak out, reach out" there really is nothing in such songs to encourage repeat listens. ""Playland" certainly is not as good as "The Messenger" and leads you to conclude that Marr really does need a top notch producer to bounce off or a musical foil for new ideas that can take his undoubted guitar brilliance into new territory.
Review by Red on Black