Johnny Marr’s Fever Dreams Pts. 1-4: What You Need To Know
As one of the finest and most influential guitarists of his generation, Johnny Marr needs little in the way of introduction. From his time in the Smiths, through his stint as one third of dance trio Electronic, to recording with the likes of The Cribs, Modest Mouse, The The and The Pretenders, Marr has been an ever-present force in Britain’s music scene and continues to be one of its most vital performers.
In more recent years, though, Marr has finally begun to carve out a solo career of his own, with a series of impressive albums under his own name since his 2013 solo debut The Messenger.
This week marks the arrival of his fourth solo LP and his first double album, Fever Dreams Pts. 1-4, which lands in our stores this Friday (February 25). Here’s everything you need to know…
A little background…
News of a fourth solo album arrived in October last year, alongside the digital release of the album’s first section, followed up by a live-streamed show from his studio The Crazy Face Factory and the news that Marr will be touring with Blondie in April and May, as well as supporting The Killers on their US Arena tour beginning in August 2022.
Who’s producing it?
The new album has been produced by Marr and usual co-producer of choice, Doviak.
Any special guests?
Not in terms of featured vocalists, but singer-songwriter Meredith Sheldon provides backing vocals across the album and three of its tracks feature the talents of Primal Scream bassist Simone Marie.
What does it sound like?
Over the course of his last three albums Marr has been gradually developing a sound of his own, one that incorporates electronic textures in the vein of Depeche Mode or early Simple Minds, alongside driving, fuzzed-up guitars that feel a million miles from the jangly, chiming riffs and licks that became his trademark during the Smiths era.
Here, though, that sound begins to feel more fully realised than it has to date, especially on tracks like ‘Sensory Street’ and ‘Spirit, Power and Soul’, which blend both of those elements to great effect.
There’s a wider palette of influences weaved into the new album too, as you might expect from a double album, with the upbeat, melodic pop of ‘Night and Day’, the stomping rock of ‘Tenement Time’ and the moody, atmospheric pulse of ‘Lightning People’ – one of the new LP’s real highlights.
Does it deliver?
Johnny Marr’s skills as a guitarist have never really been in doubt, but his songwriting has gone from strength to strength in recent years and Fever Dreams Pts. 1 – 4 feels like another stride forward in that respect. Double albums can often be a gamble and feel a little stretched, but there’s plenty to of great stuff to be found in the deep cuts as well as the more immediate and accessible singles. Marr has hit a run of creative from over his last few albums and this another great addition o an already impressive catalogue. Long may it continue.
Fever Dreams Pts. 1-4 is available in hmv stores now - you can also find it here in our online store.