Babyshambles - Shotter\'s Nation - Albums - Reviews - Soundblab

Babyshambles - Shotter\'s Nation

by Rich Morris Rating: Release Date:

Even Pete Doherty stoops to making records from time to time, and Shotter’s Nation might be the best chance he’ll ever have to convince the wider public that there’s more to him than his role as Britain’s favourite comedy junkie. Finally given a major label budget and a name producer, the eternally erratic Doherty can show that he didn’t peak with the Libertines early singles. Babyshambles’ murky sounding debut Down in Albion was patchy but had its moments, but thankfully the present line-up, bolstered by veteran guitarist Mick Whitnall, sound focussed throughout, producer Stephen Street absolutely nailing a classic if dated Brit rock sound. Doherty’s chaotic existence certainly generates plenty of material and what used to be called side one is cracking. "Carry on up the Morning", the punchy if mawkish hit single "Delivery" and the catchy "UnBiloTitled", a pretty song about seedy lives, are powerful and compelling. "Crumb Begging Baghead" is lyrically pitiful yet insistently memorable and "Unstookie Titled" appears to offer some unexpected self-awareness. The second half of the record is less strong, though veteran acoustic guitarist Bert Jansch appears on the maudlin closer "Lost Art of Murder" and the junkie business of "There She Goes" is amusingly sleazy if musically slight. Doherty is an unusual star, living a life no one could aspire to, and in his defence, he never glamorises it. But if fame is a state where one’s life is beyond one’s control, then it’s no surprise that a junkie should take to it so naturally. Shotter’s Nation almost justifies his status. --Steve Jelbert

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