[Astralwerks]
Don’t tell anyone, but I like an album that Kate Moss helped write. Let’s just take a moment to let that sink in.
Okay, now that we’ve done the obligatory marveling at how London’s favorite trainwrecks have managed to get it together long enough to come up with a great album, we can ignore Pete Doherty’s troubled personal life and focus on what really matters.
Shotter’s Nation kicks off with “Carry On Up The Morning,” a solid track reminiscent of Doherty’s days with former band The Libertines.
“Crumb Begging Baghead” reminds the listener that Babyshambles is more than just Pete Doherty, as it features standout performances from Drew McConnell on bass and Mick Whitnall on guitar. The album includes several other impressive up-tempo songs, but it’s the ballads that will blow you away.
“UnBiloTitled,” which Doherty penned with drummer Adam Ficek and friend Peter Wolfe of Wolfman and the Side-Effects, is one of the album’s strongest tracks. Doherty’s heartfelt vocals shine here and on “Deft Left Hand.”
However, Doherty’s tour-de-force comes on “The Lost Art of Murder,” a stripped-down acoustic track featuring Bert Jansch on guitar. In the song, Doherty (notorious for letting his art imitate life), expresses a desire to turn his life around, singing, “Oh don’t look at me like that/She won’t take you back/You said too much, you been too unkind/Get up off your back/Stop smoking that/You could change your life/Do you think you’ll change their mind?”
I’d have to check the tabloids to see if Doherty’s been able to “stop smoking that,” but one thing’s for sure: He’s successfully channeled his personal problems into a great album.
Grade: A-

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