24.3.09

Hooligans On Key

Spotted the excellent Swear I'm Not Paul throwing up the Pete Doherty buying an Oasis album clip earlier. Shpose its only right that as a girlishly obsessed Libertines mad doppleganger I give a quick of the cuff review to his new album.

Shotters Nation was an incoherent, unsure attempt to appeal to the wider audience since signing to major label Parlophone. Stephen Street did the best with what he had to work with. It was a bland and average album in my opinion that was caught between Doherty's desire to be the live artist troubador, the need to please older fans with guitar rock and Stephen Street trying to polish it off and make it marketable. The main source of the music an absolute mess of a human that could self implode, or worse, at any moment. Mr Doherty and Street's relationship has since blossomed.

Cleaner and leaner. New slick myspace. A decent, if saddening, documentary on MTV. A more focused one to one relationship between Street and Doherty has finally produced the coherent slick neo-britpop album that Shotters Nation aspired to be. This has the effect of making it feel like a new departure, phase in the musical career of the Libertine. Almost like the male equivalent of the eclectic Lily Allen pop that has delightfuly emerged.

What would once have been a love it or hate it stripped down drunken live acoustic slur of a song, has become a fine tuned pop song loaded with strings and cool sounds that are completely alien to his past. It sounds like he worked hard at this. Apparently he did. It sounds like he wants to be taken seriously as an artist. Even refers to himself as Peter Doherty now. Touches of the Andrew Coles about it lol

It works.

Easily taken as a standalone album, even an introductory album. Something the label would have demanded given the closeknit, closed minded attitude of the army of Libertines fans to anything divergent. The older tracks in the album to compensate for this.

Thats not saying that its a musical masterpiece. Lead single Last of the English Roses is probably one of the weaker tracks on the album. Its as meh as the video really. It contains a few of the obligatory revamped 10 year old demo tracks. In fact, as far as I can tell only "I Am The Rain", "1939 Returning", "A Little Death Around the Eyes", "Broken Love Song", "Salomé" and "Palace of Bone" are the only tracks that are less than 2ish years old. They obviously spotted this at the printing press when they subbed another old school choon "Lady Dont Fall Backwards" for "I Am the Rain" in the final cut. As far as I can remember there are no wild guitar songs. No electric. All acoustic if I recall. Pianos. Double Bass. Everything is measured. Neat. They are good though. Couldn't be called indierock. Its maturer music for the masses.

The lyrics in general, are general. Imagery of cathartic storms, cups of tea, flowers, stories, football in the council estate and bible stories. Gone are the screaming rants that longterm fans could try and draw paranoid conclusions from. This is not about Kate Moss or Barat et al. New beginnings.

This was probably intended as finally getting out all the old songs, finishing the chapter of post-Libertines to Babyshambles. And doing it to the best of his ability, proving there is still a musician in there beneath the tabloid reporting. Clearing the road for future musical expeditions to be taken seriously. Clearing the road for future work. His desk has been cleared of clutter. Attempt to rebuild the musical platform from which he can regain credibility. Difficult to say what form the next musical foray will take. Maybe Carl Barat to release a very similar album. Maybe a Babyshambles EP in the mould of this. Then probably the most eagerly anticipated reunion of recent times at the same time The Strokes get their act together.

Its a good album. You don't need to be part of the clique to listen to it or enjoy it. Stephen Street should have his name as an accredited artist on the cover. Its a nice, quaint indie folk britpop masculine-Lily Allen-type album. If that sounds like your bag, go fer it. I'll recommend it.

3.5/5

Oh and Graham Coxon helps out too.

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