The best Mozza album you’ve never heard

Funny, sad, moving and controversial, Kill Uncle is everything a Morrissey album should be. Shame that cos of a rather silly post-Smiths backlash that so few of his legions of fans have heard it then.

Stop me if you think you’ve heard this one before, but Morrissey hasn’t always been regarded as one of England’s national treasures.
Back in the early ’90s, he was hated by the music press. The post-Smiths backlash started when Mozzer released his ‘difficult’ second album, Kill Uncle, and spiralled out of control when he flirted with right wing imagery for the follow-up, Your Arsenal.
OK, so we admit that waving a Union Jack around is a bit dodgy, but how can you criticise Mozzer for making Kill Uncle – one of his most enjoyable and diverse records. Funny, sad, moving and controversial, it’s everything a Morrissey album should be.

The closing sombre ballad, There’s A Place In Hell For Me and My Friends, could well be Stephen Patrick’s finest solo moment. Backed by a piano arrangement that’s worthy of any state funeral, Mozzer ponders the afterlife. Honestly, when the drums kick in, it’ll make your quiff wilt.
Clocking in at a paltry 33 minutes, Kill Uncle is Morrissey’s shortest album. On its release in 1991, it was accused of being lightweight, but compared to some of Mozzer’s later efforts (the experimental Southpaw Grammar and the patchy Maladjusted), it’s a delicious, quirky pop treat.

Produced by Clive Langer and Alan Winstanley (Madness and Elvis Costello) – Morrissey had severed his alliance with Stephen Street – it includes rockabilly (Sing Your Life), raga-violin (Asian Rut and Our Frank), Roxy Music keyboards (Mute Witness) and strange music hall accompaniment (The Harsh Truth Of The Camera Eye).
It’s not just the music that’s wildly eclectic – Morrissey also creates a weird and wonderful array of characters including a deaf and dumb thalidomide victim and ‘a tooled up Asian boy’ who’s out to avenge the murder of his best friend. Corrie scripwriters take note.

One of the highlights, the guitar-heavy rocker, Found, Found, Found is rumoured to be about Mozzer’s friendship with Michael Stipe.
For Kill Uncle, Morrissey teamed up with two new songwriting partners – Clive Langer and Fairground Attraction’s Mark E Nevin. The end result was a varied album that never failed to surprise – a long-lost Mozzer classic.
Cherish it like your favourite, er, uncle.

Morrissey – Kill Uncle 1991 (EMI)


One Response to “The best Mozza album you’ve never heard”

  1. Kendo the fun & the fair Says:

    Personally (isn’t it always?) love Mute Witness, Sing Your Life, End Of the Line…. there is a place is ok..

    But weak. very weak.

    I thought Viva Hate (Suedehead, Everyday & Maudlin aside) was nearly as poor.

    You want jems??

    Vauxhall & I.

    Or Even Billy Braggs Bloke On Bloke EP. Basically Smiths sans Morrissey.

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