The former Smiths guitarist swaggers out of the blocks with the stomping Mancunian rock of The Right Thing Right on what is officially his solo debut record. And why wouldn't Johnny Marr be confident when he has helped define British music with Morrissey before more than holding his own alongside younger rockers as a member of Modest Mouse and the Cribs?
The recent recipient of NME's "godlike genius" title recorded The Messenger in Manchester (and Berlin), the return home after a stint in Portland, Oregon, inspiring a sound that is more Oasis than Smiths. I Want the Heartbeat is a rollicking riff-fest, Upstarts effortlessly switches from stadium-ready rock to dance-floor rhythms while the widescreen Lockdown cruises along on Marr's almost peerless guitar work. Reggae infiltrates the fizzy The Crack Up, while album closer Word Starts Attack sits somewhere between Arctic Monkeys and the Beatles.
The band-hopping, mop-topped Britpop legend, who turns 50 this year, does no wrong on this album, which he claims was inspired by his three guitar heroes: disco icon Nile Rodgers, late folk picker Bert Jansch and the Stooges' James Williamson. While you can hear traces of that diverse triumvirate - the fuzzed-out garage of Sun and Moon, the jangly acoustic pop of European Me and the disco basslines throughout - the takeaway message here is that Marr has delivered on his own terms.