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    Down In Albion 8 ( 2005 )
    La Belle Et La Bete / Fuck Forever / Arebours / The 32 Of December / Pipedown / Sticks And Stones / Kilmangiro / 8 Dead Boys / In Love With A Feeling / Pentonville / What Katy Did Next / Albion / Back From The Dead / Loyalty Song / Up The Morning

    What artist, that wants to sell records, would make a reference that would only make sense to the citizens of one particular country? Not only that, but do you think it is possible that a band consisting of drums, bass and guitar can sound fresh? Can they sound fresh in 2005? When they have zero innovation, lyrics that aren't anything different, although we can go back to 1977 and appreciate the similarity? Babyshambles are a shambles of the band that the Libertines were. The rhythm section of Babyshambles are half as good. The guitar playing is half as good. The form, the format, the feeling, are equally as good. The impact, is equally as good. The only thing that lets Pete Doherty down is the fact that a few songs here were better if they had never existed. Let's face it, if you have an apparently equal creative partner, a few of your very worst ideas will never see the light of day. Paul and John had the same thing going on. Some of the worst realised ideas here then? Babyshambles do a reggae song. Very badly. Much hyped single 'Fuck Forever' is the state of Pete Doherty's mind when he's at his very worst. It doesn't have much of a tune, ruins the albums impact by being the second track and should never have seen the light of day. At least Syd Barrett had Roger and Dave preventing his worst excesses from seeing the light of day. By the way, I love Pete Doherty. He has something going on. I shall explain in the following paragraph.

    We have some brilliant songs here. Absolutely wonderful songs. 'The 32 Of December' sounds as fresh as the very first 60s bands that first discovered how to write songs in the first place. Even Lennon/McCartney had to learn somewhere. The problem with 99% of todays songwriters is that their music is too aware of the past. The past is like a message through a stick of rock you got from Blackpool. It could be any stick of rock, you look for the message. Maybe it amuses you, maybe it doesn't. Pete Doherty plugs into my soul. 'The 32 Of December' plugs into me more than all the half arsed 60s nuggets pysch stuff. That people revere, because they are simply looking for more of the magic that happened during a certain period of time. You look for more and ignore what is right in front of your face. The Libertines were on the verge of cracking America. Superb rhythm section, great songwriter in Pete and an intelligent and good writer in the other guy, Carl. They were meant to be. Babyshambles of course, suffers from the comparison. Yet, Pete was always the heart and soul of The Libertines. If you want your music well played, if you can't stand the fact the guitar player, the bass player and the drummer - only have about as much musical stuff about them as The Monkees when they played their own instruments - you won't like Babyshambles. I won't apologise to you if that's the case then, that I do like them. Very much. They are natural and have soul.

    16 songs here, 4 could have been trimmed easily, because they are shite. On the other hand, we have the likes of 'Kilmangiro' which are utter genius and get me wondering what this guy has that so appeals to me. Because I can't explain it. I can listen to all the far out stuff from the 60s. Velvet Underground, The Monks. Can. Avant garde stuff that seems to indicate, deceptively, that the guys behind it were intelligent beyond the level that todays muscians are. Pete, for all his many faults, clearly lives and dies through his music. Without a single innovation, his music sounds fresh. That's something that impresses me hugely. It's not something that can be at all easily explained. All I can say is, I filled my MP3 player with 60s music. A few well know bands, a few less well known. Some well known bands releasing lesser stuff. Some of the most aclaimed 60s stuff that is obscure. I then mixed in some Babyshambles songs. Sonically, stylistically. No difference in particular. 40 years later Pete hasn't managed to do anything that people haven't done before? Well, obviously, it's a bit more difficult when everything has already been done. Pete makes music that sounds new, anyway. Even when you know it isn't. I like that. Music with actual blood, sweat and tears within every single crappily played guitar line. Added to writing genius. Without that, we'd have nothing. With playing greatness, but without ideas, we'd have Emerson Lake And Palmer. 'Albion' is a stupendous song, by the way. It starts with a minute of quiet, white noise. Just to put off all the people that judge every song only by the first 60 seconds. Radio people. Record company people. A far too large percentage of the general public. Fuck them.

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    Readers Comments

    Scott scott_brown88@hotmail.com
    another classic in my opinion. it takes a while to get into because of the bad production, but after a few listens you realise its up there with the libertines albums. 8 dead boys, loyalty song, up the morning, 32 of december are all classic songs and pipedown is so good words cant describe. overall i'd give it a 9, would have been 9.5 if the reggae song wasn't there and the production was a bit better

    Rob robnicholl_acquiesce05@hotmail.co.uk
    Downloaded the album when it leaked. Fantastic Album. Should prove the critics wrong but wont because they are still hung up on drugs and kate moss. Anyway Albion, Fuck Forever, What Katy Did Next, 32nd DEcember, Le Belle Et La Bete,Pipedown, Stix n Sotnes and Merry Go Round are all azmaing. Pentonville is just wank in my opinion but something different for the album. I knew it, Noel Gallagher knew it, and now you and everybody else will know it. Pete Doherty has made a great album......without Carl and the rest of the libs. Probably the most honest review this will get.....the NME will give it a straight 10, the papaers will pan it for being "DRUG INFUSED" NOISE. But your right. Fuck Them. Down In Albion There Black And Blue.......and its great

    James Hammond jameshammond201188@hotmail.com
    Nice review of down in albion, but one criticism - Patrick Walden is a hell of a guitarist. I dont know if hes better or worse than Carl Barat and i dont like comparing people, but he is a very good musician in my opinion and lets remember that The Libertines didnt record in the same circumstances as Babyshambles have - they are all pissed or stoned and Patrick has to almost make it up as he goes at some points. I think hes creating his own style on that album. Thanks

    Itchy itchymanic@hotmail.com
    32 December - very weak, kind-of sixties, kind-of the la's, kind-of a bad b-side. Albion - again, pretty weak, lacking much of a tune, lyrics ok. Best songs on the album: La Belle et La Bete, Back From The Dead, Fuck Forever, Up The Morning, Merry Go Round. Shite songs - A'rebours, 32 December, 8 Dead Boys, Pentonville, What Katy Did Next, Loyalty Song. Some good stuff, but too much shit to give it anything more than 6/10. Still, that's a lot more than I thought I'd give it when I saw the shambles that they are live on tv.

    Keller keller@oswald.com
    You've got to be joking me. It's absolutely the worst record I've heard in years. It's a ramshackle mess. Most of the songs on here are complete crap, take a minute to begin and sound like they were recorded in a shed. Killamangiro, Down In Albion and Loyalty Song are the good songs here. I saw Babyshambles live last May and first heard Pipedown and it was brillant, I was so excited but the recorded version on this album is ten times inferior. And the rerecorded version of Fuck Forever is inferior to the original and any live performance. I had the same problem with The Man Who Came To Stay, ther b-side to the original version of Killamangiro: it was dull on record and only made sense when they played it live. In fact a recording of a good Babyshambles live set would have made more sense as a release. Just don't anyone pretend that this is a good album because it really isn't. It's a near-complete failure. I'm going to give my copy away to someone or if no one will take ! it I'll sell it to a used record store.

    thomas tom@somebodytoldme.co.uk
    agree with you on fuck forever - the most amazing live 'shambles song sounds a mess here. solution: exchange the album's fuck forver with the live version they played for zane lowe on your mp3 player. it sounded spontaneous and fantastically dangerous, like its supposed to. i think you're mainly right on the album, some absolute genius, let down by a couple of tracks. one thing i have found is that i like it more every time i listen to it, its a definite grower.

    joel skankinpants@yahoo.com
    I agree with you it is hard to make music sound fresh. But i do love the new album "32nd of December" "What KAtie Did Next" "Loyality Song" are all amazing. "Albion" is very go also. I would also agree about 4 songs could have been left off it. But he should have replaced them with other songs that are great like "East of Eden" "Darling Clementine"

    Nikki fizzy_water73@hotmail.com
    Great review but I have to disagree with your opinion on Pat Walden. Amazing guitarist with a very distinctive style, unlike anyone out there right now- much better than Carl in my opinion. I don't think any songs should have been trimmed- perfect length- love that most of the journos found it too hard to digest in one sitting. Probably what the band intended. Despite the lukewarm reception this album got from the NME, they'll probably be bumming it in ten years. Definitly a underrated classic.

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    Shotters Nation 8 ( 2007 )
    Carry On Up The Morning / Delivery / You Talk / UnBiloTitled / Side Of The Road / Crumb Begging / Unstookie Titled / French Dog Blues / There She Goes / Baddies Boogie / Deft Left Hand / Lost Art Of Murder

    Parlophone have a habit of getting in Stephen Street to sort artists out and produce a hit or two. Morrissey, Radiohead and Blur have all benefited from this producers touch. Pete Doherty and cohorts working with Stephen Street has erased a lot of the rough edges in Pete's music. This is both a good and a bad thing, I suppose. I do like Pete's often ramshackle style. 'Down In Albion' was the product of a confused individual still able to write cracking tunes but not knowing when to start and stop. 'Shotters Nation' does indeed have a selection of decent tunes that are repeat playable, yet the Pete Doherty magic that resulted in 'Can't Stand Me Now' or more recently, 'Beg, Steal Or Borrow' is missing. It seems that he didn't have enough tunes left in the locker this time around. Lyrically things appear to have taken a turn for the worse although he still does weave a spell. Vocally, he's much improved with concise and focused vocals across the albums twelve tracks. In short, we gain in terms of muscianship and professionalism and lose the half-formed experiments that prevented 'Down In Albion' from matching The Libertines, but lose the classics along the way. Lead single 'Delivery' is ok, but surely doesn't match either 'The Blinding EP' or 'Kilmangiro' from 'Down In Albion'. Better is the quirky 'You Talk', a Kate Moss co-write, but don't let that put you off. It's a very English song, true to Pete's roots. Less pleasing is filler such as 'UnBiloTitled' and the flat 'There She Goes'. Not two of Pete's finer moments, but Stephen Street still ensures both sound at least average, which is still better than The View and a lot of Libertines inspired bands. There's a lot of them, too. The Libertines slender catalogue has become something of a holy grail for new UK bands, it seems.

    Highlights here, and there are some, include 'You Talk' and 'French Dog Blues'. 'French Dog Blues' has some classy Pete moments, great lyrics and sweet guitar melodies alongside some more biting guitar and drums. 'Baddie's Boogie' contains harmonica. Pete's harmonica can always get a song of his into my heart and it's no different here. Rounding out the highlights is the closing track, the acoustic 'Lost Art Of Murder'. A quality composition that proves, as if proof were even needed, that Pete is a proper songwriter. This is what distances him from the pretenders to The Libertines vacant throne. Pete can write songs that withstand scrutiny. 'Lost Art Of Murder' makes me yearn for an all acoustic Pete Doherty solo record, the kind of record that could well be his masterpiece someday. 'Shotters Nation' isn't Pete's masterpiece, for my money, it's not quite as good as 'Down In Albion', daft as that may seem. The weak spots on 'Down In Albion' were made up threefold by that albums highpoints. 'Shotters Nation' does have songs as good, but not quite as many of them and doesn't live upto the promise shown by 'The Blinding EP'.

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    Readers Comments

    Patrick Mallon arcticjunkie@hotmail.com
    I'd tend to agree with most points there. I feel if this album had a bit of the ramshacklness of DIA it would be masterful, but that's not the album theyve gone for. Possibly if Pat Walden was back for this album they could have pulled it off but none the less it's terrific album for me. I find myself drawing comparrisons to Parklife in a few of the songs but maybe that's just me!!

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    this page last updated 4/11/07

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