Babyshambles - Sequel to the Prequel

by Greg Spencer Rating:8 Release Date:2013-09-02

Babyshambles are a band with a chequered past, to say the least. Frontman Pete Doherty has gone from the proverbial media wet-dream to completely off the map and out of the public domain since he started living in Paris. After reuniting with Carl Barat and his fellow Libertines, one would be forgiven for thinking Babyshambles were a spent force, and that the outfit that had died down in terms of cultural relevance. Even though Babyshambles have never had the influence or critical acclaim that The Libertines had, they do remain an intriguing proposition and Sequel to the Prequel can only enhance their reputation.

The first Babyshambles album was something of a mess, in all honesty. It didn't have much direction or grasp of what the band were trying to do. Fast forward eight years and Babyshambles are a different proposition entirely. We hear this instantly with the intensity of 'Fireman'. Sure, Doherty rambles in that shambolic way we've all become accustomed to but it genuinely sounds like there's a new life and energy in this band from the get-go. The second track, 'Nothing Comes to Nothing', is a seriously catchy and endearing number which reminds us how, even through the insanity of this band, they can still produce quality indie-rock songs with ease.

It's true that Babyshambles can sound quite lackadaisical at times but that's probably because of Doherty's half-flamboyant and half-somnolent vocal style. It's difficult to work out on some tracks what sort of mood he was in when they recorded the vocals, which is part-interesting and part-dysfunctional. As always with Babyshambles, there's a variety of influences and musical styles on this record. From the downright indie of 'Seven Shades' to the reggae vibes of 'Dr. No' there's a lot to get your teeth into here.

It is easily the strongest album from this band, their previous two only offering up snapshots of what they're really capable of. This record shows Babyshambles are serious and are (hopefully) here to stay.

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