Johnny Marr – Fever Dreams Pts 1-4 (Album Review)

Johnny Marr – Fever Dreams Pts 1-4 (Album Review)

Johnny Marr has been very prolific since his post-Smiths collaborations with a diverse number of musicians, from Billy Bragg to Hans Zimmer. That in mind, it was only in 2013 when Marr came out officially as a solo artist, and he has so far been as equally productive.

Released on Friday, February 25, 2022, via BMG, Marr’s current record is his fourth solo endeavor. His first full album of all-new material since 2018’s Call The Comet, Fever Dreams Pts 1 – 4 is full of material, coming at you as double album with sixteen tracks in total. Written and recorded at Marr’s Crazy Face Factory studio in Manchester, it was brought to life by him along with his long-standing band; Co-Producer Doviak, Bassist Iwan Gronow, and Drummer Jack Mitchell. Additionally, it also features backing vocals throughout the album from Meredith Sheldon, but also three songs with bass work from Primal Scream’s Simone Marie.

With the first quarter of the album released as an EP back in October of 2021, it comes with great anticipation that fans now get dive into the entire package. That all in mind, the full-length album opens with “Spirit Power and Soul”–a sweet and upbeat matrimony of Post-Punk and Synthpop. “Receiver” then follows with its big guitar sound. Marr then turns gothic and dark with the ensuing “All These Days,” which has a vibe of The Cure to it, particularly when Robert Smith with his troop was in melancholy mode.

Later on, “Ariel” is a sugar rush of melodic sensibilities, reminiscent of Marr’s Electronic days. This is whereas “Lightning People” is a slow, synth-drenched New Wave ballad. Then with “Hideaway Girl” Marr exhibits his true colors–a confident six-string slinger who has absolute power over his weapon of trade. Another trek to Synthpop territory plays next in the form of “Sensory Street” – vibing off the Dance phase of Depeche Mode and New Order. Then you have “Tenement Time” which pulls some Joy Division strings. After several more stompers, Marr then wraps up Fever Dreams Pts 1-4 nicely with the semi-acoustic celebratory song “Human.”

Overall, Fever Dreams Pts 1-4 is an ambitious yet fulfilled, sixteen track offering by the revered guitarsmith. It showcases again Johnny Marr’s songwriting knack, as well as his ability to use the guitar in complementary harmony with other instruments, to produce a good balance of restraint and liberality. That is why Cryptic Rock gives the impressive Fever Dreams Pts 1-4, 5 out of 5 stars.

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aLfie vera mella
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Born in 1971, in Metro Manila, Philippines, aLfie vera mella is a healthcare worker, singer/songwriter, and editor/writer. He was the frontman of the ’90s-peaking Philippine Alternative Rock / New Wave band Half Life Half Death, which released a full-length album and several singles on Viva Records. aLfie worked at Diwa Scholastic Press as an editor/writer of academic textbooks and supplementary magazines, focusing on Science & Technology and English Grammar & Literature. In 2003, aLfie migrated to Canada; he has since been living in Winnipeg, Manitoba. He works full-time at a healthcare institution, while serving as the associate contributing editor of Filipino Journal—a local community newspaper in Winnipeg—tackling Literature, Languages, Cultures, Lifestyles, and Music. aLfie has been a music journalist since the mid-’90s for various print magazines as well as websites. He started writing album reviews for Cryptic Rock in 2015. In 2016, aLfie published Part One (Literature & Languages and Their Cultural Significance) of his Essay Series, Can You Hear the Sound of a Falling Leaf?; in 2021, his first book of poetry, Pag-íhip sa Dáhon ng Kahápon [Blowing Leaves of Yesterday]. In his spare time, he enjoys reading books and listening to music. aLfie is a dedicated father to his now 13-year-old son, Evawwen; and a loving husband to Kathryn Mella, who herself moonlights also as a writer aside from holding a degree in Bachelor of Arts, Major in Sociology.

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