Review: Jack Foley
MORRISSEY wouldn't be Morrissey without getting political. And,
after an absence of seven years, he has plenty to say.
Lead single, Irish Blood, English Heart, sets the tone,
with everything from Blair, Cromwell and Labour under fire.
Yet America comes in for just as much of a battering, as does
Jesus and all manner of stuff that Morrissey finds annoying.
As such, fans will welcome the arrival of You Are The Quarry
with open arms, while the sceptics will, no doubt, feel he should
keep his opinions to himself.
To be fair, though, the album is a pretty sharp return to the
limelight for the singer (and former Smiths frontman), who comes
somewhere close to justifying the hype surrounding his songwriting
You Are The Quarry is by no means a classic, but it is
a good album, which doesn't sound quite as preachy as some of
its themes might suggest.
America Is Not The World, for instance, arrives like a
conflicted love letter to his new homeland, kicking off with the
choice line, 'America, your head's too big, because America, your
belly is too big'.
Yet, for some reason, the lyrics don't dominate as much as they
have on previous Morrissey records, maybe because of the fact
that the abum marks his first to be recorded in the studio as
a band, instead of trying to create the music around the vocals.
The result is that the better tracks sound much fresher, muck
slicker and much more accessible than before, enlivening proceedings
Similarly, I Have Forgiven Jesus, his rant against religion
and its hierarchy, could easily become a single, such is its ability
to reach out to the mainstream.
The album does become a little too opinionated, at times, particularly
when Morrissey turns the focus on himself.
The World Is Full of Crashing Bores threatens to become
as long and crashingly boring as the title suggests, with Morrissey's
vocals at their most laborious, while the self-important, How
Can Anybody Possibly Know How I Feel? is likely to have you
pulling out your hair in anguish.
Beginning with the lyrics, 'she told me she loved me, which means
she must be insane, I've had my face dragged in 15 miles of shit,
and I do not like it', the track is guilty of the self-loathing
excesses that tend to dog a lot of the singer's work.
Morrissey is far more adept at looking outwards, than inwards,
and feels much less pretentious when he does so.
The album does, however, rediscover its way, once more, with
tracks such as First of the Gang To Die, which reflects
the artist's newfound interest in Californias Mexican youth
culture, and which allows the guitars of long-time collaborators,
Boz Boorer and Alain Whyte, to shine.
Likewise, I Like You, which perks things up a little,
and even harks back to his Smiths days.
A welcome return, then, but one which probably won't widen the
1. America Is Not The World
2. Irish Blood, English Heart
3. I Have Forgiven Jesus
4. Come Back To Camden
5. I'm Not Sorry
6. The World Is Full Of Crashing Bores
7. How Could Anybody Possibly Know How I Feel?
8. The First Of The Gang To Die
9. Let Me Kiss You
10. All The Lazy Dykes
11. I Like You
12. You Know I Couldn't Last