"Boomslang" (Reincarnate; 2003)

Reviewed by R. Scott Bolton

Johnny Marr is a guitar hero but not in the style of Zakk Wylde, Randy Rhoads or even Ted Nugent. Marr, founding member of The Smiths and once named one of the Top 10 guitarists of all time, has also played for such artists as The The, Electronic, Beth Orton, Oasis, The Pretenders and Neil Finn. Thinking about those artists, Marr's album, "Boomslang," sounds a little bit like each of them.

The success of "Boomslang" comes from as much from Marr's fascinating fretwork as it does with impressive songwriting. Instrumentally, "Boomslang" sounds a bit like some of Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers' stuff. It's a rich, well-blended tapestry that uses instrumental prowess, far-above-average songwriting ability and stunning production values to create an album that begs repeated listenings.

Perhaps not the stuff that regular Rough Edge readers are looking for, "Boomslang" instead is an album that should be relished in those more introspective moments, after the headbanging is done. That isn't to say it's tame - "The Last Ride" and "Long Gone" rock pretty hard - but "Boomslang" is much closer to Bruce Springsteen than Bruce Dickinson and, depending on your mood, that ain't a bad thing.

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Rating Guide:

A classic. This record will kick your ass.

Killer. Not a classic but it will rock your world.

So-so. You've heard better.

Pretty bad. Might make a nice coaster.

Self explanatory. Just the sight of the cover makes you wanna hurl.


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Copyright 2003 by R. Scott Bolton. All rights reserved.