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coverpic flag England - Full Moon 209 - 09/19/13

Babyshambles
Sequel To The Prequel
Parlophone Records

Pete Doherty still is alive and kicking and has overcome all addictions and rumours and public blunders, way back to days of The Libertines (when they emerged in the late 90s), via Kate Moss, rehab and all that goes with it. Babyshambles' third album, Sequel To The Prequel is maybe Doherty's life summed up to now?

Babyshambles' pop/rock range back to a line of British bands from the 1960s till now; The Kinks, The Pretty Things, The Animals, The Creation, Eddie and the Hot Rods, Sex Pistols (without the extreme punk snarl), Buzzcocks, The Jam, Blur, Supergrass, Oasis, uh...The Libertines, Arctic Monkeys, and more. 6 years after Shotter's Nation (2007) Pete Doherty and co. (guitarist and co-lyricist Mick Whitnall, bass player Drew McConnell, and drummer Jamie Morrison) returns with a new album, and Doherty told the NME: 'I don't want this to be half arsed, I want to get up there and really fu*king smash it out. Babyshambles aren't back, this band has always been here!' Well, he's still a heavily self-esteemed loudmouth, but he's also a poet, a painter, a singer, a songwriter, and he's back with a vengeance. It seems. And, yes, he hasn't been totally away or lost, as he put out his solo album Grace/Wastelands in 2009.

Sequel To The Prequel is launched with artwork by Damien Hirst, and the record shows a playful and 'pop-eyed' (or should it be 'pop-eared'?) Doherty. He's serving pop songs, mainly dressed in rough clothing. Raw pop with an attitude, like with the opening "Fireman" which is a song up the alley of The Sex Pistols. Or, plain pop songs such as "Nothing Comes To Nothing", the album's most catchy moment - jangly guitars and all. "Picture Me In A Hospital" (a song with a fiddle in the line-up!) is another of the album's better tracks, and sort of a key track. Imagine Doherty in a hospital? Guess, he's more of a self-medicating guy. Other memorable tracks count "Farmer's Daughter", "Fall From Grace", and the closing "Mindfield". All in all this record is good company. One of the positive things about it is the laidback approach Doherty and his cohorts play and perform the songs. Here's no fake musical make-up. Just the real thing. The unpolished stuff. I've got this feeling that the album's been recorded with lots of fun and cheering during the recording.

In a way Pete Doherty is a somewhat cartoon-ish character. But, he's an amusing one, and he can write decent songs for sure. He also seems to be a true romantic, and I guess he's got this 'devotion', or rather fascination for this knife-edge between life/death. As he's been balancing this edge through some years on the wild side. When listening to Sequel To The Prequel it sounds like he's chosen the 'life' side.

Copyright © 2013 Håvard Oppøyen e-mail address

You may also want to check out our Babyshambles article/review: Blinding EP.

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