Johnny Marr
Fever Dreams Pts I-IV


3.5
great

Review

by Batareziz USER (89 Reviews)
April 8th, 2022 | 10 replies


Release Date: 2022 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Fever dreams of a talented mind

Johnny Marr is a significant figure in rock music, even though unfortunately not one of the most high-profile. Over the course of his long and varied career he remained in the shadows of other musicians (first of all, vocalists). Until finally he released his first true solo album in 2013 (however, it was preceded by Boomslang he recorded together with The Healers in 2003). Then two more great LPs followed. And this year, having teased the new album with two EPs (out of four announced), the guitarist released a collection of 16 fresh songs.

One of the reasons the reviewer mentioned Marr’s in-the-shadows standing is due to his unique guitar playing. He never sticks out and eclipses his teammates unlike many of his established colleagues. At the same time his fretwork cannot be called indistinguishable or subtle. His style is more like penetrating musical depths of a song, when guitar is noticeable but also manages to craftily merge with other instruments and vocals. Only when you listen in carefully, trying to mentally disassemble a track, you pick up his inherent and artful work. And whenever the guitarist takes over in the solo sections or produces memorable riffs, his high level becomes evident.

The same approach Johnny applies to his vocals. They cannot be called powerful or bright, feeling like a step back to his main specialty (unsurprisingly). However, he aptly combines singing and instruments, when one does not interfere with the other, instead perfectly fitting in to the tapestry.

And yet again it is in full swing on his new album, where the musician decided to move towards a more electronic direction.

Without a doubt the record can be called a success. Quite often the LPs containing this much material suffer from unevenness of the latter, when you can throw out a half of it, leaving only the best stuff in the playlist. Luckily this doesn’t happen on the new Marr album. Though it also doesn’t mean all of the tracks are outstanding. We see the usual picture: some tracks are great, others are decent but not bad enough to be sent to the bin. Still, there is only one critique that can be presented here – a monolithic yet monotonous flow, with one track segueing into another, and it is sometimes a task to separate them during listening. Because of that a plus of the album sometimes tuns into a minus, smoothing out the shape due to too impressive evenness of the contents. But it is truer for the first four tracks (well, except for peppy Spirit Power and Soul). Hence it is advised to bide your time and dive in the diversity presented by Johnny circa 2021-2022.

There is a couple of bright constellations here. The delicate and mellow Lighting People with its R&B elements is surrounded by vibrant and energetic satellites – Hideaway Girls and Sensory Street. And not far from them is Tenement Time emanating rock waves to the universes of the audience's savor.

The Speed of Love creates its mysterious, space and time expanding atmosphere, gradually filling up the ether. But then we resurface out of the contemplative state with the help of light and melodic Night and Day, followed by colorful Counter Clock World (a worthy nod to R.E.M.) to boost our buoyant mood.

Having crossed the Rubicon (referring to both the name of the track and the point of no return, when we cannot stop to listen to the record), we encounter other cuts worthy of attention in one way or another. Out of this lot the closing Human deserves a nod. Even though it is a mellow track that at first looks dispensable, after the new wave / pop rock onslaught we swam through it feels like a relief.

And with that we get another commendable release and one more album to the slowly growing discography of Johnny Marr.



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user ratings (12)
3.3
great


Comments:Add a Comment 
Divaman
April 8th 2022


16120 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Nice. Glad to see you review this.

Batareziz
April 9th 2022


314 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Thank you, Diva. Wanted to beat you there, in case you thought of writing one yourself ;]

Divaman
April 9th 2022


16120 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

You were pretty safe. Haven't written many reviews lately.

Batareziz
April 9th 2022


314 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

That's too bad. Although I did have a couple of years off from writing for the site. Well, I still have the Cheap Trick discography I need to finish...

Divaman
April 9th 2022


16120 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I'll write one now and again. But I haven't really had the time lately.

Egarran
April 9th 2022


33506 Comments


Posd.
Is this post punk?

Divaman
April 9th 2022


16120 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I'm not great on categorization. I guess you could call it that. I just hear it as very good pop rock. What would you say, Bat?

Batareziz
April 10th 2022


314 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Thanks, Egarran. Well, I'm not sure, really. It does sound somewhat new wave-ish, so I guess technically it can be referred to post-punk.

Batareziz
April 10th 2022


314 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

"I'll write one now and again. But I haven't really had the time lately."



Well, always liked your reviews, so keep up whenever you can.

Divaman
April 10th 2022


16120 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Thanks Bat. That's very kind of you.



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