MANCUNIAN icon Morrissey is known as much now for courting controversy as he is for his glory days with The Smiths.

So it probably comes as no surprise that just days after Remembrance Sunday he accuses soldiers of being ‘wretched outcasts’ that have ‘hatred for all human life’ in his seven and a half minute vitriolic anti-war track, I Bury The Living.

Why attack the soldiers rather than the politicians who send them to war? Why not make a point about the futility of conflict?

Targeting the soldiers themselves seems an odd choice but maybe that’s the point given this is an artist who’s not afraid to shock. Elsewhere the 58-year-old attacks everything from the police to nuclear weapons policy on his new record, Low in High School, with occasional breaks to get poetic on love and lust.

Some of it makes a point, much of it is fair comment but almost every line is some sort of moan to the extent that the album as a whole becomes a dreary slog of misery and self-righteousness. Musically there is a lot of versatility here. My Love I’d Do Anything For You is a brooding, bass-led rock song, I Wish You Lonely swaps guitars for synths, In Your Lap is piano-led and The Girl From Tel-Aviv Who Wouldn’t Kneel is a touch theatrical.

Morrissey’s distinctive voice is just as strong as it was 35 years ago and the record sounds great, produced by Joe Chiccarelli, who’s worked with Frank Zappa. But Morrissey is veering dangerously close to grumpy old man territory without even the pop sheen of his Smiths days to balance it out. One for just the fans.

Low in High School is released on Friday.