"THE QUEEN IS DEAD." The Smiths. Sire. The sound of the Smiths' singer Morrissey is one long effete, groaning sing-song moan, filled with fey whimsy and petulant anger. He may get monotonous musically, but Morrissey is one of the greatest English eccentrics since Quentin Crisp, and on this collection of whining, lonely-heart yearning ("Never Had No One Ever"), naughty sacrilegious parody ("Vicar in a Tutu") and plain old absurdity ("Some Girls Are Bigger Than Others"), Morrissey's loony, loopy charm is crisply intact.
Of course, a weird lead singer does not an important rock band make. What separates the Smiths from any number of pretentious, self-consciously arty combos is guitarist Johnny Marr's uncanny knack for lilting pop settings for Morrissey's musings.