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Johnny Marr: Adrenalin Baby

Punchy but pedestrian live album from former Smith.

Recorded in London and Manchester while touring last year’s Playland album, Marr’s first solo live collection is full of jingle-jangle virtuosity and timeless new wave zing. But it doesn’t take long before he bumps up against his limitations as a lead singer, and his over-fondness for straight, shouty, Noel Gallagher-endorsed bloke-rock.

While dynamic tracks like Easy Money and 25 Hours have a nicely ragged mod-punk energy, the biggest thrill inevitably comes when Marr raids his Smiths archive, doing a passable Morrissey impression on Bigmouth Strikes Again, How Soon Is Now? and a lightly tweaked update of The Headmaster Ritual (‘same old joke since 1982’)

These all sound like polished cover versions but There Is A Light That Never Goes Out feels more like a remix in this warm, sparkly, soulful singalong arrangement. Lovely. A heavily Clash-influenced I Fought The Law affirms where Marr’s retro-rock heart lies – full of good intentions but forever looking over his shoulder at past glory.