Pete Doherty's songwriting gifts remain splendidly erratic.
Babyshambles: Sequel to the Prequel
Sequel to the Prequel
Negative expectation has become almost beneficial for Babyshambles. So messy is Pete Doherty’s rehab-heavy life that news of a new record is always greeted with trepidation and mere coherence is a relief.
Hence his band’s surprisingly enjoyable third album is almost a cause for rejoicing. It emerges amid reports that Doherty has opened a market stall to make some extra cash, which hardly inspires confidence, but his songwriting gifts remain splendidly erratic.
The majority of Sequel to the Prequel is well worth seeking out, although his unsung colleagues take much of the credit for that, particularly the crashing waves of guitar with which Mick Whitnall underpins the singer’s wracked voice and unique world view.
The musical tone shifts confidently from classic punk to melodic Americana, with Fall from Grace’s lilting country aptly complementing a lament about the spotlight: “Can we go someplace / where they don’t know my face?”. The quality does dip dramatically later on, notably with Dr. No’s bizarre cod-reggae and the piano-based bedlam of the title track. But then again, a rubbish-free record just wouldn’t be Babyshambles, somehow.
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