Johnny Marr is the best ex-Smith. Like Kim Gordon of Sonic Youth, or Noel Gallagher of Oasis, he manages to both be the most critically acclaimed ex-member, while also not being the one with the biggest ego. Of course, when that other ego is Morrissey, and you’re not someone who cancels shows on a whim or supports a white nationalist political party, it’s not hard to have the smaller head. More importantly, Marr has been putting out strong music, even subsuming himself to be part of younger, lesser acts such as Modest Mouse and The Cribs (QRO live review with Marr). Call the Comet is just the kind of skilled indie-rock we both need and expect from Mr. Marr.
Admittedly, the record doesn’t have one clear standout track, but instead is just strong, song-to-song-to-song, from the big and pressing opener “Rise” to the sweetly expanding closer “A Different Gun”. Comet is almost a class on how to do indie-rock right, also including higher sway (“Day In Day Out”), slyer rock (“Hey Angel”), and darker (“Actor Attractor”).
Johnny Marr’s always first going to be known for his work in The Smiths, but John Lennon’s always first known for his work in The Beatles. And it hasn’t stopped Marr from having a strong solo career (he even plays Smiths songs live – QRO live review), like Call the Comet.