Personnel: Morrissey (vocals); Vini Reilly (guitar, keyboards); Stephen Street (guitar, bass); Fenella Barton, Richard Koster (violin); John Metcalfe (viola); Mark Davies, Robert Woollard, Rachel Maguire (cello); Andrew Paresi (drums).
Recorded at Wool Hall Studios, England in 1987.
One of pop's most eagerly awaited albums, VIVA HATE followed the demise of the Smiths with little delay. Produced and composed by Stephen Street (who also worked on the Smiths' last album), VIVA HATE was a sure-footed rebuttal to a world of critics who couldn't imagine Morrissey without guitar deity Johnny Marr. VIVA HATE contains far more sonic experimentation than most of the Smiths' work. Guitar duties are notably assumed by Durutti Column's sonic mastermind Vini Reilly, who fills the album with his trademark brand of expressive, intertwining lead lines.
VIVA HATE proved a victory of many sorts for Morrissey--the anthemic "Everyday Is Like Sunday" provided another hit song, as well as proving that his lyrical powers were far from ebbing. One real stunner, "Angel, Angel, Down We Go Together" is just vocal and strings; a suicide reference as gripping and dramatic as The Smiths' "Asleep," it is nothing short of transcendent. On tunes like the bizarre opener, "Alsatian Cousins," Reilly's guitars rage and storm like fiery ghosts, while on "Late Night, Maudlin Street," they provide echoing atmospherics, leaving the real storytelling to the album's star, who more than rises to the occasion.
Rolling Stone - 3.5 Stars - Very good
Q (3/02, p.138) - 3 stars out of 5 - "...Contains his career-high singles, the fractious 'Suedehead' and steam-age melancholia of 'Everyday Is Like Sunday'..."
Q (Magazine) (p.112) - 3 stars out of 5 -- "[N]o fiddling about can mask VIVA HATE's transitional quality, at times touched by rare grace..."
Mojo (Publisher) (p.101) - 4 stars out of 5 -- "Vini Reilly's guitars are sublime -- and it's fascinating to hear Morrissey, still in his twenties, looking back on his pre-Smiths days..."