Johnny Marr Strikes Again

When Johnny Marr first joined The Cribs I watched a few live videos and didn’t get it.  (He has joined, played with, and now left the band by this point.)  I thought the Jarman brothers, the three brothers that make up the band, looked goofy and that they couldn’t sing.  Keep in mind I like a lot of people that “can’t sing”.  I was dead wrong as the album that the four of them made together, Ignore the Ignorance, is simply fantastic.

First of all, the guitar playing is top notch.  With Johnny Marr onboard you would expect no less, but this is a great TWO guitar band as Ryan Jarman plays a perfect foil to Johnny Marr.  Sure, Johnny Marr is doing a great deal of the most interesting stuff, but Jarman compliments him excellently.  I love records where each guitarist is panned to one side of the recording so you can hear what each of them are doing and also how they compliment each other.  It’s exciting to hear Johnny Marr, who is known for a great deal of overdubs, play as if he is playing live.  There are actually very few overdubs on this record period that couldn’t be replicated by a live band.  There is some occasional acoustic guitar, keyboards, etc., but they are sparse and usually relegated to background duty.  I think this is some of Johnny Marr’s best guitar playing outside of The Smiths, and his tone on this record is as good as it’s eve been.  It sounds as if you could take a bite out of it and chew on it for awhile.

The album is also one of those albums where the whole thing is strong and listenable.  The lyrics are far superior than most pop music, if not reaching the level of true poetry.  And there are plenty of great pop melodies.  The entire band plays well together and, except for those few small overdubs, it almost sounds like a band playing live.  It was produced by Nick Launay who also produced the completely strange and captivating Public Image Ltd. album The Flowers of Romance.  There is a great deal of guitar oriented British pop music, but this is among the best in recent years.

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