Johnny Marr was in The Smiths, or, more accurately, that well-dressed band from the ’80s fronted by Morrissey. Although never in the limelight after The Smiths dissolved, Marr has played an active role in many groundbreaking British bands such as Electronic and The Thef. There have even been rumors from NME that he is a prime candidate to be the next guitarist for Britpop sensation Blur. Johnny Marr + The Healers is the first project where Marr has had complete control over both the music and vocals. The first product of his newfound limelight is Boomslang a somewhat poor creation for a guitarist with a solid music background and all of the potential in the world.
Boomslang would be an interesting CD if Marr had condensed it into 11 minutes, rather than almost an hour. Sonic diversity is abundant throughout Boomslang, ranging from the thick reverb, droning sound of Jesus and Mary Chain to the more contemporary Britpop sound of, let’s say, Oasis.
Each song begins with a somewhat interesting, often catchy sound, but quickly stagnates into a continual repetition of the first minute of each song. Some of these songs are long, too. “You Are the Magic” continues for seven-plus minutes of repetitive ’80s synthesized beats and ends with Marr ceaselessly repeating the song title. The more promising songs, like “Another Day,” suggest a subtle buildup of layered guitars that usually lead to an epic ending, but, instead, crumble with the same repetitive shit.
Marr’s breadth of influences definitely teem through out Boomslang, but his failure to develop songs that can keep the listener’s interest make this album a failed attempt at honing the spotlight.
[Gary Epper takes immense pride in being a musical elitist. So there.]