Rock/Pop Albums: Likeable record from unlovable character Morrissey

MORRISSEY

I Am Not A Dog on a Chain

It’s always difficult separating an artist from their art and, in the case of Stephen Patrick Morrissey, it’s impossible.

Rock/Pop Albums: Likeable record from unlovable character Morrissey

So while his 13th solo record is his most rocking and robust in decades — and at a strictly sonic level the most raucous since Your Arsenal — it is also a shop window for his increasingly unlovable persona.

Morrissey has always loved to taunt and provoke. Indeed, playing Dublin’s 3Arena in 2018 he appeared to extract as much fun from winding up the punters as wending his way through an occasionally glittering back catalogue.

Moz has, in the 18 months since, doubled down on his persona non-grata status.

He literally pinned his colours to the right-wing For Britain party by wearing a sporting its logo performing on American TV.

Last year meanwhile he claimed that Nigel Farage would make “a good prime minister”.

All of that burbles in the background throughout I Am Not A Dog on A Chain, recorded in Provence and Los Angeles with his regular producer Joe Chiccarelli.

That remains the case even as Morrissey belts through solid rockers ‘Jim Jim Falls’ and ‘Bobby, Don’t You Think They Know?’ (a duet with Thelma Houston).

What it proves is that Morrissey remains singular. He is also unreviewable.

SUFJAN STEVENS & LOWELL BRAMS

Aporia

Sufjan Stevens’ life and career is entwined with that Lowell Brams, Steven’s stepfather and the co-founder of his label AsthmaticKitty.

The esoteric folkie has already paid tribute to Brams on record with 2015’sdevastatingCarrie and Lowell, a rumination on his unorthodox childhood and his estrangement from his mother.

Now, to mark Lowell bowing out from Asthmatic Kitty, they have put together a collection of ambient noodling inspired, according to the accompanying playlist, by Cocteau Twins, Enya, Brian Eno and Boards of Canada.

It’s a languid, fuzzy-at-the fringes wash of electronic mood-pieces. A melody will occasionally bob to the surface before slipping once more beneath the waves.

But tunes often meander obeying no logic but their own, or often simply no logic at all.

There is little here to cling on to, though single Climb That Mountain is structured, loosely, around a spiralling synth motif.

Instead, Aporia is an LP to be listened to with curtains closed and the lights dimmed. If you’re not doing anything – and many of us won’t be for the foreseeable future – it is the perfect escape hatch to a more carefree dimension.

More on this topic

Dua Lipa cut off as she debuts Future Nostalgia album onlineDua Lipa cut off as she debuts Future Nostalgia album online

Irish Examiner View: Hard truths, soft delivery - Kenny RogersIrish Examiner View: Hard truths, soft delivery - Kenny Rogers

Matt Lucas and John Bishop lead tributes to country music ‘icon’ Kenny RogersMatt Lucas and John Bishop lead tributes to country music ‘icon’ Kenny Rogers

Folk/Trad albums: Upbeat Billow Wood provide much-needed exuberanceFolk/Trad albums: Upbeat Billow Wood provide much-needed exuberance

More in this Section

Virus response writes a new chapter for Books UpstairsVirus response writes a new chapter for Books Upstairs

Ireland's DIYers causing problems for doctors during covid19 crisisIreland's DIYers causing problems for doctors during covid19 crisis

Damien Enright: Coping with confinement by coronavirus in the CanariesDamien Enright: Coping with confinement by coronavirus in the Canaries

Richard Collins: Glimmer of hope for the dwindling hedgehogRichard Collins: Glimmer of hope for the dwindling hedgehog


Latest Showbiz

The singer told fans that ‘there will be an album this year’.Sam Smith to change title of upcoming album To Die For

James McAvoy is the latest famous figure to make a contribution.Covid-19: Angelina Jolie, Rihanna and Taylor Swift among stars donating money

He shared an inspiring message to those struggling during the coronavirus crisis.Drake shares first photos of son Adonis with emotional tribute

The American was one of the biggest box office draws of the 1950s and 60s.‘Affordable’ items belonging to Hollywood star Doris Day to be sold at auction

More From The Irish Examiner