A new Morrissey album was once a cause for celebration. This is no longer the case, with the former Smiths man’s disastrous attempt to reinvent himself as a novelist and his increasingly outrageous public pronouncements eroding 40 years of good will.
That decline continues with his 11th solo record, a surly, confused (self-released) affair that sees the Irish-Mancunian singer variously giving vent to lusty impulses (‘When You Open Your Legs’) and making flailing stabs at controversy (‘Israel’, ‘Who Will Protect Us From The Police?’).
An acquired taste at the best of times, Moz’s choirboy croon remains a singular instrument — and he has finally moved on from the crashing pub-rock that has defined so much of his post-Smiths output, with excursions here into electropop, piano balladry and mariachi music (a wink perhaps, towards his popularity among Mexican-Americans).
As a lyricist, moroever, he remains dazzlingly mischievous — though his couplets are now put in service of what feels like nonsense verse (“Gimme an order! I’ll blow up a border! Gimme an order! I’ll blow up your… daughter!”)
Ultimately, the project is suffused with such gale-force sourness that even hardcore devotees may find it difficult to afford Morrissey the benefit of the doubt.
He’s furious about something. But rather than channel this venom into interesting music, he has instead delivered a lurching and incoherent collection of quasi-rants and odd-ball diversions. The result is the equivalent of an angry weirdo venting in a pub. The rejuvenated Moz of You Are The Quarry — a rebirth now more than a decade old — has never felt further away.