Album review: Morrissey - Your Arsenal
PUBLISHED: 11:30 04 March 2014
The former Smiths frontman's third LP from the early '90s gets remastered - and kicks harder.
This ‘Definitive Master’ of the third solo outing for Mozzer sees gems like The National Front Disco, You’re The One For Me, Fatty and their pithy brethren remastered in shiny high definition.
The LP that sent the morose Manchester maverick into the stratosphere in the US remains one of two distinct halves.
The muscular, urgent You’re Gonna Need Someone On Your Side, with a goofy crime caper guitar lope kicking off a slew of gritty, ballsy songs with real swagger and a dark underbelly – in particular the portraits of ‘70s football hooliganism and ugly radicalisation of The National Front Disco and We’ll Let You Know - the latter’s drum rap inbuing a sobering menace.
The glam stomp of Glamorous Glue, not released as a single until 20 years later, feels even more valedictory and just as relevant and throbbingly vital now.
The power is no small thanks to Spiders From Mars guitarist and arranger Mick Ronson, who took on production duties.
The contrasting majority that follows is sonically lighter and contains the classic Fatty, crisp finger-picked guitar and hi-hat of Certain People I Know and ironic pop breeze of We Hate It When Our Friends Become Successful.
The pool of elongated, distended strings that flow round Seasick, Yet Still Docked seem even more sharply disorientating in this remaster, while the original version of album closer Tomorrow is substituted with the US mix.
A lo-fi, VHS-quality film of a previously unreleased US gig – an energetic 18-song set of earlier material and stage invasions – captures the peppy Your Arsenal band line-up a year before this album’s release, and completes the package.
Rating: 4/5 stars