Six years have passed since Babyshambles’ last released an album, in the form of the Stephen Street produced ‘Shotter’s Nation’. It is again Street on production duty of their latest release ‘Sequel to the Prequel’, and it seems that they have recaptured the same unmistakable charm of their previous collaboration, which can sometimes be difficult for bands after such a lengthy hiatus. Doherty has had brief forays in both the world’s of art and acting during this time. His 2008 ‘Art of the Albion’ exhibition in the Gallerie Chappe in Paris caused controversy due to many of his artworks being made with his own blood and was also widely criticised by many art experts.
He also appeared opposite Charlotte Gainsbourg in 2012 in french film ‘Confession of a Child of the Century’, which was screened at the 2012 Cannes film festival. Pete Doherty’s rightful place does however seem to be behind the mic be it for Babyshambles or as a solo artist and his return to music will be welcomed widely by a cult following which has been steadily building since the early days of the Libertines’ guerilla gigs.
The album kicks in to life with opening track ‘Fireman’ and what it lacks in time (it is just over 1 minute 40 seconds) it makes up for in energy, frenzied guitar and energetic vocals, something which has featured quite often on Doherty’s previous be it with Babyshambles or The Libertines. This is followed by the indie sing a long ‘Nothing Comes To Nothing’, it’s a catchy tune but fails to really take off, and just seems more like filler than anything else.
‘Farmers Daughter’ has far more to offer slowly building into an anthemic chorus, returning to the verse’s delicate, almost fragile vocal. It is reminisent of ‘Sedative’ from Babyshambles’ ‘The Blinding’ E.P, which is not a bad thing at all. Babyshambles have always been a band that aren’t shy to explore different genres. The folky ballad ‘Fall From Grace’ being a prime example combining finger picking and slide guitar to great effect.
The ramshackle style which we’ve come acustomed to over the years is still very much a feature. Street seems to have found just the right balance, toeing a fine line between sounding under produced and adding just enough production to compliment the band. ‘Sequel To The Prequel’ seems to be a welcome return to form, maybe not on par with earlier releases but a step in a positive direction none the less.