Pete Doherty has spent the last year in and out of tabloid magazines for many different things: drugs, Kate Moss, fighting, Kate Moss on drugs, causing everyone that is involved in the music industry (it seems) to comment on him, 'crazy' live sets and more drugs. All this comes off the back of two just above average albums with his former band, The Libertines. With his new band, however, the new 'rock star'/ 'greatest poet since Wilde'/NME poster boy doesn't have the talent of Carl Barat to fall back on.
So I guess the first question on many people's lips is "does Down in Albion live up to the hype?" The simple answer is yes and no. However, we don't want a simple answer, so let's go for the complex one:
If you're looking for a shambolic (no pun intended) ego-trip by one of the most over-rated musicians of the last 10 years, then this album is right up your street. If, however, you want an album to listen to more than once, this really isn't it.
The album follows the same path as The Libertines used to, musically, with its sub-Clash sound. However, where it veers from this path is the lack of a decent vocal performance throughout. He is completely out of tune; how did this go un-noticed? I hope to Jesus himself that this wasn't intentional, because it sounds awful. There are some moments of sheer bemusement, such as the 'Whoa' that comes a minute and forty seconds into "A Rebours." If you're listening through headphones, it will have you grappling to remove them to try getting that noise out of your head.
Lyrically this album falls flat - Doherty is to poetry what Ed Gein was to cemetery care. "Fuck Forever" sounds like something I would write in five minutes, on the bus to work, with a hangover. I'm guessing "Pipe Down" is supposed to be an anthem about his battle with his crack addiction, but it just grates on you with his faltering shouts and whimpering. "Sticks and Stones" follows the sub-Clash a little too closely with a cod-reggae backing that never really goes anywhere. Whistling (?!?,) for some odd reason, is put in the mix. However, unlike Joe Strummer, who had a great voice, our Pete seems to spend the album talking over the top.
The album does have some good points, though. "Killamangiro" is a pretty decent tune that is somehow not blighted by as bad of a set of vocals as the rest of the album. Even the lyrics are almost passable. Eventually, the album ends as well, which I have to say is the most enjoyable part.
When Pete does finally drop dead from the crack, (which I've bet on being within the next twelve months in the Death Pool,) he will be raised to iconic status by the British press and the NME. However, unlike Cobain, Hendrix, and other icons of music that died young, he will not have left the most important thing- a decent back catalogue to back up the "rock star" status. At least he kicked the shit of that arsehole Johnny Borrell, I guess. That gets the thumbs up from me.
4.0 / 10
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