Ringleader of the Tormentors is a savagely alive record. Recorded at Forum Music Village in Rome with long-term hero Tony Visconti (who produced favorite records for T-Rex and David Bowie, during their most creative periods of the 60's and 70s), the album positively crackles with fire. It is, for instance, a far more direct and rocking record than Quarry, which aside from 'Irish Blood, English Heart', was a self-consciously beautiful, and largely symphonic, record. Ringleader of the Tormentors was written by Morrissey with Jesse Tobias, Alain Whyte and Boz Boorer. Sanctuary. 2006.
If you don't get your hopes up too high, you'll be pleased enough with Morrissey's eighth studio effort. This is not an easy thing to do, of course, even for the casual fan. After all, not only was the Moz's 2004 You Are the Quarry
a total return to form after enough of an absence to cause all of the cells in your body to regenerate, but this terrifically titled album finds the iconoclastic singer working with legendary Bowie and T. Rex producer Tony Visconti, all the while aided and abetted by soundtrack giant Ennio Morricone and a children's chorus. How could that go wrong? None of it goes wrong
, per se. This isn't a wholesale reworking of an artist's approach à la Trans
or something. It simply sounds rather rushed and generic: even the lyrics seem, bizarrely, un-subtle. Fans will no doubt need it (and likely own it already), but neophytes to the exquisite pleasures of this musical dandy are directed elsewhere in his catalog. --Mike McGonigal