Kill Uncle


Sire / Reprise Records, 1991

REVIEW BY: Christopher Thelen


I swear, if there ever is a rock version of Hamlet staged, someone should contact Steven Morrissey about playing the the melancholy Dane. The man has made a career out of being miserable, and often, he knows how to turn it into a solid pop hook. (I didn't get into The Smiths until I got involved in college radio, and I didn't get into Morrissey's solo works until I started dating one girl.)

Morrissey's 1991 release Kill Uncle finds him in the same mindframe, but this time, not all the material lives up to expectations, possibly a sign that Morrissey needed to find a new muse to spice up his writings.my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

Usually, any solo album from Morrissey has one song that is an immediate standout. Bona Drag had several of them, the most noteworthy for me being "The Last Of The Famous International Playboys"; Your Arsenal had "We Hate It When Our Friends Become Successful".

The first thing that strikes me about Kill Uncle is that there isn't any one song that stands out among the group of ten as the most memorable. I'm not saying there are no good songs on the album; far from that. But the fact that there isn't one standout is a red flag, especially for an artist of Morrissey's caliber.

Starting off strongly with "Our Frank," Morrissey and his band (guitarist Mark E. Nevin, bassist Bedders and drummer Andrew Paresi) quickly fall into a bit of weirdness on "Asian Boy". This isn't a song that has a style that one would normally associate with Morrissey, and I thought the songwriting needed a bit more development to add some maturity to it.

The album falls into a bit of a rut until a strong run of tracks, "King Leer," "Found Found Found" and "Driving Your Girlfriend Home". Tracks like these re-instill faith in the listener that Morrissey hasn't lost his touch, though I do admit I occasonally found myself wishing that someone would slip some anti-depressants in his tea. I mean, can his life (or the reflection of his life through his songs) be that much piss and vinegar?

The bulk of Kill Uncle isn't anything special, nor is it terrible. (One has to wonder if Morrissey gets paid by the word for some of his song titles - e.g., "The Harsh Truth Of The Camera Eye," "There's A Place In Hell For Me And My Friends". 'Nuff said.) If anything, it's ordinary, a surprise coming from an artist who's anything but ordinary.

Of course, the diehard Morrissey freaks will slobber over every track on Kill Uncle - more power to them. For the rest of us, this could be the album you pick up when you want to complete your collection. While there are some good songs on Kill Uncle, it's hardly the place where you'd want to start your collection.

Rating: C+

User Rating: Not Yet Rated



© 1999 Christopher Thelen and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Sire / Reprise Records, and is used for informational purposes only.