It sure took Johnny Marr long enough to release his first solo album but he seems to be on a roll now. Barely a year after “The Messenger”, he’s back at it already with “Playland”.
Marr will never be the best singer around but he knows how to make due with what he has at his disposal and covers things up smoothly with his guitar lines. And why shouldn’t he? Let’s face it, the guy is still first and foremost a guitarist and he can play the shit out of that Fender of his any day of the week.
The album starts off great with the one-two combo that is “Back In The Box” and the funky “Easy Money”. Next up are “Dynamo” and “Candidate”, two songs that are decent enough but nothing out of the ordinary. Especially the latter one sounds like it could go wrong at first before blossoming open in the chorus.
Basically all of the songs on here are pretty good except for “Speak Out Reach Out”, which sounds a little too much like early Depeche Mode for its own good. As a way to make up for it, Marr follows this one with “Boys Get Straight”, a rocker that sounds like he’s running from something while constantly looking over his shoulder.
“Playland” is not the best album you will hear this year but it is definitely worth a listen!