Morrissey's first album in three years will offer fresh political insights

Morrissey during his concert in the Citibanamex arena in Monterrey Nuevo Leon.
Morrissey during his concert in the Citibanamex arena in Monterrey Nuevo Leon. PHOTO: AFP

NEW YORK (AFP) - Rock icon Morrissey will release his first album in three years, his new label distributor announced on Tuesday, promising that the work will offer fresh political insights from the outspoken singer.

Low In High-School, the 11th solo studio album from the British artist whose morose, sardonic lyricism has won him an impassioned fan base, will come out on Nov 17.

"Morrissey's talent for combining political statements and melodies is more prevalent than ever on Low In High-School, capturing the zeitgeist of an ever-changing world," music group BMG said in a statement.

He will launch the album with a Nov 10 concert at the Hollywood Bowl in Los Angeles - where he enjoys an especially avid audience dominated by Mexican Americans - followed by a wider tour whose details will be announced later, BMG said.

The 58-year-old singer helped create the concept of alternative rock as the frontman of The Smiths in the 1980s, taking a role akin to a literary figure with his poetic takes on life's injustices and disappointments on albums such as The Queen Is Dead and Meat Is Murder. Never shy about his views, he is a staunch critic of the British monarchy and a long-time champion of animal rights, with the singer refusing to play at concert venues while meat is served.

He has had a fraught relationship with the music industry. His last album, World Peace Is None Of Your Business, disappeared from distribution shortly after its release in 2014 as he pointed to disputes with label Harvest, part of giant music conglomerate Universal.

For Low In High-School, he launched his own label called Etienne - the French form of Steven, his given first name.

Etienne Records will be distributed by BMG - a unit of German media giant Bertelsmann. Formerly a major label, BMG relaunched in 2008 with a focus on music publishing and distribution.

Korda Marshall, BMG's executive vice-president for new recordings, said it was "a dream" to sign him.

"There are not many artists around today that can compare to Morrissey. He is an extraordinary talent. He is prodigious, literate, witty, elegant and, above all, courageous," he said in the statement.

The album news comes just as a biopic about the artist, England Is Mine, arrives in cinemas. Based on Morrissey's autobiography, it follows his boyhood in Manchester until he formed The Smiths with guitarist Johnny Marr.