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Customer Review

5 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars All in some distant land, 11 Oct. 2004
This review is from: Vauxhall And I (Audio CD)
The recent critical acclaim of Morrissey's 'You Are The Quarry' led me to reach for my copy of 'Vauxhall and I' and to give it a total reassessment, long overdue and to see whether Quarry really could stand alongside Mozza's offering released staggeringly a decade ago.
Personally I do rate Quarry very highly although I do tend to think there is a slight loss in quality as you progress through the latter end. On hearing Vauxhall for the first time in frankly too long - and through the headphones - the main difference is that Vauxhall is a stronger offering right through. Infact, Vauxhall contains arguably Morrissey's strongest opening track and closing tracks to any solo album. 'Now My Heart Is Full' is beautifully song - indeed, the album's production is lush - with some superb wordplay leaving you picturing the story of the song as it progresses.
But as other reviewers have noted, the album carries with it a sigh of resignation and 'Now My Heart Is Full' is a superb example of this. Morrissey is almost whispering his sorrow toward the end, and the line in which for once he drops the note "Now, my heart is fu-ll" just makes my heart break. It is emotional to the point of being almost too personal.
'Spring Heeled Jim' reminds me of Strangeways (the album, not the prison!) with its soundbites placed here and there, but the next track is stronger and more interesting. 'Billy Budd' definitely sounds like Morrissey calling out to his former guitarist and song-writer Johnny Marr. The instrumental break, a madly strummed guitar working its way through a wah-wah pedal sounds very much like the hand of Johnny Marr (as do other parts of the guitarwork throughout the album, esp 'The More You Ignore Me'), but surely it would just be too obvious to be so wouldn't it? The bridge section is great too, with the bass-line almost running away out of sight!
The next track could have been placed where it is in clever relation to 'Billy Budd'. 'Hold Onto Your Friends' could also be addressing the aforementioned Marr though that seems unlikely to me. A nice acoustic affair and again great vocals.
'The More You Ignore Me The Closer I Get' is pure class Morrissey. When this was released I rated it as his best single since the offerings from 1988's 'Viva Hate'. I've recently seen the video and it just proves what a brilliant piece of work this song is. The actual lyrics should be hilarious, but again, they're sung with such emotion that I'm just to absorbed in the song to start laughing out aloud. 'You're wasting YOUR time' he declares! Great guitar arrangement especially for the final verse where the main lead/rhythm guitars come back. Quality songwriting.
'I am Hated For Loving' is really the most musically intriguing song on the album. It almost sounds as though the song is sliding away somewhere. Good word-play once again with brilliant guitar lines and guitar tones. The 'I Am Mine' line has been recently given a new lease of life on Quarry where he sings 'Only I am I'.
'Used To Be A Sweet Boy' is almost too cute for Morrissey and has a bit of a music hall feel to it. Having said that, it's both stunning and beautiful. A wonderful piano instrumental section takes the listener into the clouds where maybe Daddy, whose hand Morrissey had so tightly clung onto in times past, has now gone. The bass-line at the end needs asking if it's going to join the other instruments in closing the song in its home key. First time round it stands firm before rising up and forming that final chord. Clever.
The imagery I get when listening to 'Girl Drowning, Lifeguard Sleeping' is superb. I picture a beach after the sun has set, yet, like some old films where you can tell they shot the night scenes in the day, it has a silvery hue to it. Silently, in the water, a hand is waving, but it's a wave of distress. Yet, the distress to the listener comes through Morrissey's narration, as though we are both watching the drama from a cliff top, yet Morrissey is whispering in my ear hoping that neither of us gets noticed. The clarinet is a perfect choice of instrument giving the story a 1920s feel. Infact, the clarinet could itself be the clarion call of death that is about to take the girl beneath the waters to her death.
And death is mentioned is the album's closing track 'Speedway'. That chainsaw is so life-like I have to look around to ensure nobody has brought one into the house! The heavy drums at the end, with the metallic snap of the snare drum at the very end is like the guillotine that's just come crashing down in 'Margaret on the Guillotine', the last track on Viva Hate.
You come away from listening to the album almost breathless. It's as though you've been enticed to listen to the songs, got hooked on them and lost yourself in each and every line of each song. The cold, snap and echo at the end of 'Speedway' is like the waking up with the cold sweat back into the real world. Only, despite feeling as though you've just been through some nightmare, you feel different because you simply know you must go there again.
Morrissey: This album is class.
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Showing 1-4 of 4 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 31 Oct 2009 21:24:02 GMT
Luskentyre says:
Nice review - but only 3 stars?!

Posted on 16 Oct 2010 20:40:30 BDT
think he made a mistake when pressing the stars button -meant to press 5 but hit the three

Posted on 3 Aug 2013 00:13:09 BDT
JMC says:
and yet you only give it three stars.

what a forty two carat plonker you really are.

In reply to an earlier post on 1 Apr 2014 14:48:45 BDT
Dl Fairey says:
Luskentyre and David J. Bardsley are correct. I should have pressed 5 stars.

Can you get 42 carat?
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