Ringleader of the Tormentors
Over the course of his solo career, Morrissey gained the reputation of an artist incapable of following one good album with another. The god-awful Kill Uncle
followed the excellent debut Viva Hate. The widely panned Southpaw Grammar came after the excellent Vauxhall and I. Following the Mozzer’s release of the triumphant comeback You are the Quarry, there has been some trepidation among his fanbase as he returns in just under two years with his latest, Ringleader of the Tormentors. The first track, the Middle Eastern-tinged “I Will See you in Far Off Places”
doesn’t allay fears—it sounds more like a Tea Party rip-off than an opening call to arms. Ringleader also lacks any obvious singles—the first offering “You Have Killed Me” would be filler on any other Morrissey record. Fortunately, former glam-rock producer Tony Visconti and spaghetti western composer Ennio Morricone add their unique vision to the proceedings and save the disc from entirely falling prey to the good-album, bad-album trend. The slower songs such as “Dear God Please Help Me” and “Life Is A Pigsty,” add drama to Morrissey’s already melodramatic vocals to produce his best understated material in over a decade. All in all, Ringleader isn’t a disappointment but it also isn’t much more than that. It’s just another Morrissey record.