With three successful solo albums now behind him, there’s no stopping musical legend Johnny Marr with the release of his newest offering ‘Fever Dreams Pt. 2’. The four-track release is the second of four parts of his eagerly anticipated, double album, released 17th December 2021,
Marr is famous for his unsurpassable guitar riffs and unusual chord progressions, and part one of the series showed us phenomenal ones which could have been lifted straight from The Smiths tunes. While we all love those classic, clean, chorus-y sounds his music inherited from his former band, this EP shows the musician steering to a more intense, full sound in his guitar work. Gain and distortion are the stars of these vigorous, dynamic tracks, and Marr relies less on complex riffs to carry his work, and urges more confidence than ever into his vocals, lyrics, and energetic rhythm guitar.
The second track ‘Hideaway Girl’ is the standout song of the EP, where Marr really starts to make a statement about the enthusiasm of this release. The upbeat, ferocious song uses rhetorical questions and repetition to pose a seeming dilemma or moment of decision making, and the background riff is high-pitched and fast, adding urgency to the matter. A repetition of ‘Oh, you know you’ve gotta give all the love you get’ makes for a catchy, exciting chorus. This tune becomes more and more massive as it progresses, and Marr has definitely given us an arena-filling track with this song. Lined up to support Blondie on their 2022 tour, ‘Hideaway Girl’ would certainly stand out in his set, and undoubtedly excite the crowd.
‘Sensory Street’ follows on from the pervious track and is another exceptional tune. The tone and overdrive are alluringly moody, but with a fast tempo and layered vocals, create a song that you can stomp down the street to. Again, repetition is a theme of the track. This is not to its detriment but adds to its familiarity.
The EP pays homage to the wildness and romanticism with which Marr grew up in Manchester. These tracks are evidently about his experiences and emotions of those times, but the lyrics are abstract and give us only suggestions instead of clear stories. Instead, Marr creates for us the emotions and senses of the city, how it feels, smells and looks. This is achieved effectively, through description of the uncertainty and quirkiness of the people and places around him, paired with experimental guitar sounds.
‘Fever Dreams Pt. 1’ and ‘Fever Dreams Pt. 2’ make a solid first half of Marr’s new album, and we can anticipate more refreshing experimentation from him in his future endeavours.