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Morrissey doesn't play an instrument ("God forbid I would ever slide into musicianship," he says), so he jots down lyrics while inventing and storing melodies in his head ("I have a fantastic head"). The tunes he has come up with for Quarry are mostly winners. The music is hook and tension filled, and though at times he sounds too eager to please the flock--as in the woeful I Have Forgiven Jesus--there are just as many songs in which Morrissey sounds confident and even giddy. The First of the Gang to Die, despite its title, is as buoyant and tuneful as anything by the Shangri-Las. It, along with the political songs America Is Not the World and Irish Blood, English Heart, makes Quarry one of Morrissey's most elegant and accessible records. It's the kind of thing one could place proudly on the record shelf, even if there were no other Morrissey albums there to keep it company.