Carl Barat - Carl Barat - Albums - Reviews - Soundblab

Carl Barat - Carl Barat

by James Briscoe Rating:9 Release Date:2010-10-04

Barât's voice is unmistakable. It was one of the main power tools that gave The Libertines and Dirty Pretty Things their catchy sounds. His is not a voice like Marvin Gaye or Axl Rose but it is a voice that you feel familiar with in a good way. It has an innately warming affect on me, which not many voices do. Of course, this eponymous album is more low-tempo than most of the songs which we associate with the man in question. In many cases, this wouldn't work. Many bands rely on the energy they evoke in their fans from their up-tempo songs to succeed and if that tempo is slowed, the band or artist becomes just an average act. This doesn't seem to be the case with this record though.

For those of us who wondered if Carl Barât could be as lyrically apt without the help and muse that Peter Doherty gave him will most likely have their question answered here. There is no question mark about the wonderful tone and sheer catchiness of his first solo album.

He steels and mixes lines from the song, 'Where Have All the Flowers Gone?' written by Pete Seegerin 1955 in first track, 'The Magnus': "Where have all the flowers gone? Gone to young girls every one." - An interesting bit of inspiration there as the original song was about women plucking flowers and their husbands who had joined the army. Don't you just love a badly-hidden pop-culture reference? I do. In fact, it's a poignant reminder of our boys in Afghanistan.

The second track on the album, 'Je Regrette, Je Regrette', (I regret, I regret) is a bit more brisk and it's amusing and refreshing to hear Barât sing: "I'm a wretch, I'm a wretch, a tosser at a stretch". It's great when an 'artist' doesn't take them self too seriously, especially when it is someone who you imagined would be somewhat diva-ish.

The record offers value as well as quality for money as its 10 tracks are at an average three-minutes-48-seconds long. This extended song length goes to show the way in which Barât tells a story in the majority of songs on the album. I think most good songs are stories. The narrative makes you want to continue listening to find out how the story or song ends. In fact, several of the songs on the album seem to be about losing someone he is infatuated with. He repeatedly sings, "better let her go", in the swinging, 'Run with the Boys'.

I won't tell you about any of the other tracks on the album. All you need to know is that it's worth listening to. Carl Barât certainly isn't a half-arsed attempt at a debut solo album. I will be cautious saying this, but it might even be as good as anything Barât has done before. There have been others before him who have succeeded after going solo, in fact it seems to give artists a new lease of life. Look at Robbie Williams (even though he's back with Take That now) and then there is Beyonce Knowles. Even Feist only truly shines as a solo artist away from Broken Social Scene. It seems to be the era of the solo singer and Carl Barât surely merits that title now.

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