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Morrissey - You Are The Quarry


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 ability.

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 considerably.

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 California’s 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 fanbase.

 

 

Track listing:
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

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