Released: November 3
Gathering the fruits of his first decade as a solo artist, Johnny Marr’s first best-of traces the development of his work across a 10-year period.
Personally curated by the musician and featuring songs from across his four UK Top 10 solo LPs, along with a run of non-album single releases – plus the enigmatic new tracks Somewhere and The Answer – the 16-song set serves as a celebration for longtime fans and an introduction to new listeners.
Sequenced out of chronology, recent classics like the guitar pop staple Easy Money sit alongside the non-album single releases Armatopia and The Priest (feat. Maxine Peake), plus a cover version of Depeche Mode’s I Feel You, originally released for Record Store Day 2015.
Hailing from his purpose-built Manchester studio, the Crazy Face Factory, it’s a showcase of his instinctive sonic evolution over four records and a reminder of his knack for crafting fine pop hooks – a skill that’s served him well over a four-decade career.
Alongside the standard edition of the LP, the deluxe edition of ‘Spirit Power’ features five previously-unheard demos and rarities – Hi Hello (Demo), Somewhere (Demo), The Answer (Crazy Face Version), The Messenger (Demo), and Speak Out Reach Out (Crazy Face Version) – offering an alternate perspective on his works and plotting the development of the material.
Over a career that’s featured tenures in The Pretenders, The The, Electronic, Modest Mouse, and The Cribs – alongside The Smiths, of course – Marr’s history preceded him and there’s no doubt when it comes to his musicianship. Now, the spotlight is firmly on his independent endeavours and if ‘Spirit Power’ is proof of anything it’s that the guitarist remains at the top of his game.
The work is strong and the demos a nice bonus, but the real thrill here is the new material – surely an indication of JM5…