Morrissey - Years of Refusal
It could be argued that Morrissey’s inertia is our gain. While his old partner in crime Johnny Marr whores it about with everyone from Modest Mouse to The Cribs, a veritable six-stringer for hire, quick to adapt to any new vibrations, Stephen Patrick remains balefully aloof to anything beyond his own tight musical horizons. And that is the trick, it is part of what makes him still so appealing nine solo albums in.
This, his first since 2006’s Ringleader of the Tormentors is unlikely to hit the peaks of 2003’s masterful You Are The Quarry but it shows the same robust spirit. His withered croon has developed into more of a bull’s bellow these days, his music and delivery have grown similarly muscular with time. Producer, the late Jerry Finn has added a greater sheen to the 50s and 70s infused stomp without losing any of the kinetic energy. This is most certainly a rock record – a great one at that. Morrissey’s most recent musical foil Jesse Tobias remains unpopular with many devotees for his lack of music subtlety and they have no reason to think any differently here. Writing duties are divided between Tobias, Alain Whyte and Boz Boorer but for the most part Years of Refusal revisits the bombast and swoon of Your Arsenal.
Morrissey’s swooning maladies and vitriolic maledictions do feel cheerily out of step with the current fondness for 80s retroism but here, a man who lived, no, thrived through that particular decade, is the one not looking back, and remains filled with vigour, bile and wit.