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Dirty Pretty Things

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    Dirty Pretty Things

    Waterloo To Anywhere 8 ( 2006 )
    Deadwood / Doctors And Dealers / Bang Bang You're Dead / Blood Thirsty Bastards / The Gentry Cove / Gin & Milk / The Enemy / If You Love A Woman / You Fucking Love It / Wondering / Last Of The Small Town Playboys / B.U.R.M.A

    Is it any wonder or surprise that Babyshambles nor Dirty Pretty Things match upto the thrills provided by The Libertines? Two songwriters to fill an album, now we've one. I won't carry on, but it's clear The Libertines were more than the sum of their parts. Pete's often ramshackle 'Down In Albion' project contained three or four tunes right up there with the best of The Libertines. You may reasonably have wished they sounded ever so slightly tighter. 'Waterloo To Anywhere' contains another three or four solid tunes. Stick the best moments from both albums together, have them played by The Libertines, and you've a rock solid follow-up to the first two classic Libertines records. Simple as, really. Still, we don't have that we've got 'Waterloo To Anywhere', clever album title. Solid production and tight playing, polished into a commercial sheen. We've ten songs all right out of the same post-punk new-wave bag as each other, leaving only a couple of songs varying the formula even slightly. Musically, this isn't an ambitious album. To be fair, neither was 'Down In Albion', although 'Down In Albion' did show far more diversity, with ballads and suchforth littered amongst the debris of the sound of Pete Doherty trying to survive. Pete's daily tabloid antics have turned off all but the most diehard fan. The music press were eager to stick the knives into Babyshambles right away. On the otherhand, the dignified, totally together Carl Barat has heaps of praise at the time of writing, the real survivor, the real talent. The real talent? Both have talent, of course. I must admit, I miss the songwriting of Pete, those moments of absolute glory that only a born, rather than studied, talent can provide. Carl instantly seems more studied, we can judge this more clearly now we have the Dirty Pretty Things album to contrast with Babyshambles.

    Down to business rather than stolen facts, speculation and personal preferance. 'Deadwood' sounds like an eager opener, a close cousin of The Libertines more streamlined, punk efforts. 'Drugs And Dealers', 'Blood Thirsty Bastards' and other songs here are lyrically transparent. One fault with 'Waterloo To Anywhere', although it's an understandable one, it seems overly obsessed with recent events in the life of Carl Barat. 'Bang Bang You're Dead', the lead single, typifies the approach Carl has taken. An instantly hummable and likeable tune, yet without a moment to genuinely surprise or astonish. This is an entirely predictable album then, although, and I must stress this, not without merit. The closing 'B.U.R.M.A' is up there with fine Libertines moments, 'Gin And Tonic' a genuinely great song that should whip your legs and head into action on the dancefloor. For my money, it's the finest thing here, the refrain give me something to die for providing a memorable close. A solid album, a very admirably crafted album. Carl has developed as a writer, probably, although I don't think he's done enough for us to forget the contributions of Pete. There are some things in this world you simply cannot learn or disguise. It may be that Dirty Pretty Things never match The Libertines. I hope ( because another two or three albums like 'Waterloo To Anywhere' would be very boring ) that Carl stretches his imagination a little more next time out.

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    Readers Comments

    Alexey Provolotsky Minsk
    For me, Doherty and Barat (along with A.C. Newman and Colin Meloy) are the most intriguing, most exciting songwriters of this generation. They just have this amazing talent to make their hooks intricate, melodies fresh and inventive. They keep me interested, which is more than one can ask. Obviously, it is quite ridiculous to measure them against Lennon and McCartney, but the Strummer/Jones comparison would make certain sense, in terms of spirit as well as substance. I didnít say substances, although sadly it does sound like us to pay more attention to the latter. Ah well. Adrian here says about picking out three or four songs from each of their second debut albums and turning them into the Libertinesí third record. Iím interested, because I myself had thought that kind of useless thought. Only Iíve got a different idea here. The Libertines had 14 songs, right? Now if you ask me, the following collection blows that second LP right to hell:

    1. Deadwood 2. Killamangiro
    3. Bang Bang Youíre Dead
    4. Fuck Forever (actually, Adrian, that groove has to be Dohertyís best since ďGood Old DaysĒ)
    5. Wondering
    6. Pipedown
    7. Albion
    8. Doctors And Dealers
    9. The 32nd Of December
    10. Gin And Milk
    11. Aírebours
    12. Blood Thirsty Bastards
    13. 8 Dead Boys
    14. B.U.R.M.A.

    7 songs from either man, and the Libertines (the record) stands no chance, flow or no flow. Up The Bracket could provide some competition, though, being what it is. As for their post-Libertines records, they may be no classics, but they are at least an 8/10 on anybodyís scale. I know Doherty and Barat donít need my apology, I just did it to remind myself (and some others, perhaps) of just how high their songwriting standards really are. So donít even tell me about Arctic Monkeys, I donít even want to hear those words.

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    Romance At Short Notice ( 2006 )
    Buzzards And Crows / Hippy's Son / Plastic Hearts / Tired Of England / Come Closer / Faultines / Kicks Or Consumption / Best Face / Truth Begins / Chinese Dogs / The North / Blood On My Shoes

    It's a Lennon and McCartney situation, isn't it? Barat and Doherty were better together than they are apart and it really is as simple as that. Take lead single 'Tired Of England'. Well, it's a decent, catchy enough Barat rock song with some melodic guitar lines yet surely it doesn't compare to the Doherty penned Libertines singles? Let's forget them for a moment though. This is actually of course the 2nd Dirty Pretty Things album and it may disappoint a few people. Carl Barat has tried some new things, so all power to him for that. The result of this is that trademark Libs type sound has vanished in places, yet for Dirty Pretty Things to have a decent future, they need to develop their own way. 'Chinese Dogs' therefore is a welcome thing. To compare it to Libertines suddenly makes no actual sense. It's fuzzy and scuzzy of course, but the structure of the song seems a little different. The outro is great btw. 'Hippy's Son' is the kind of actual song title I really don't like but let's get above that for a moment. Carl sings in a tougher kind of fashion treating the bits in-between with sweeter sounding backing vocals. Kind of what we would expect from Barat is this, but it's really very good indeed. Suddenly i'm getting cautiously animated about 'Romance At Short Notice'.

    'Come Closer' opens with acoustic guitar and instantly sounds like a quality tune and Barat spins out some nice lyrics leading into an even nicer chorus. Libertines class? Well yes and of course I couldn't resist making that association. Well, we can't and don't want to forget. 'The North' on the other hand is unlike anything Carl has done before, a nice string assisted ballad, quite affecting actually and his vocal tone is also different, very smooth. Not quite crooner territory, but it suits this dreamy track very well. 'Buzzards And Crows' is a somewhat misleading opener, featuring as it does a unsettling carnival mist of sorts. 'Best Face' races along furiously yet doesn't seem to acheive very much. These are relatively minor annoyances as Carl has penned half a great album and half a good album - it works out fairly great in the end. Actually, scrap what I said about 'Best Face', it's very much a ball of angry fun!

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    Readers Comments

    Cait Canada
    Hey, just a few points of info on RASN -- "the North" was actually written and sung by Didz Hammond, not Carl Barat, and "Chinese Dogs" was written by Anthony Rossomando. Thankfully, they were moving away from being "the sort of not as good Libertines Mark II." Unfortunately, that seems to have broken up the band.

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    this page last updated 10/10/09

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