30 01 2009

The new issue of Hot Press is currently out on the shelves, so here’s my review of the latest Morrissey record…


Years Of Refusal (Decca)

Four and a half out of five


Over the last few years this writer has started to become worried for Steven Patrick Morrissey. You see the singer hasn’t had an easy time of it recently. Not only has he been outcast by the UK press for his opinions on immigrants (lest we forget his own parents were immigrants themselves and came to Manchester from this very country) his last album Ringleader Of The Tormentors was a patchy, average affair and to make matters worse, his once erect quiff now dangles limp and lifeless on top of his greying temples. Yes friends, it’s been a tough time to be a fan of the Moz-Father but fear no more as he has finally returned with Years Of Refusal and to say it sees the singer at his career best in an understatement.

            Kicking off with a sharp, T-Rex inspired riff, ‘Something Is Squeezing My Skull’ is a riotous album opener and sets a high standard for the record. Over the course of 45minutes, Morrissey has never sounded as alive, relevant and downright essential in decades. The guitar work is almost punkish (thanks in no small part to the production of the now sadly departed producer Jerry Finn) and there is an air of urgency on most of the tracks (‘Black Cloud,’ ‘I’m Throwing My Arms Around Paris,’ ‘That’s How People Grow Up).

            Mozza has often been derided for being a slightly maudlin character but Years of Refusal sees the legend in remarkably upbeat form boasting mariachi horns on ‘One Day Goodbye Will be Farewell’ (which teases his imminent retirement from music) and his beautifully battered and achingly poetic lyrics are as special as ever, particularly the catty line “You’re gonna miss me when I’m gone.” While there are hints that this may indeed be the former Smiths’ frontman’s final bow, this writer thinks it’d be a shame if he gave up now as he’s hasn’t sounded as vibrant, assured, inventive and downright pissed off since his 80s heyday. Welcome back Morrissey, we’ve missed you.  


Key Track: ‘One Day Goodbye Will Be Farewell’

Edwin McFee