It’s difficult to know what to expect when pressing play on a Babyshambles album. Whether gold will be struck or it will just be another chaotic mess seems up for debate upon every release given the manic state of lead singer Pete Doherty. With Sequel to the Prequel though, it’s as if a new band has been formed. Of course, the same grungy styling’s that Babyshambles have become known for are still present. But with this, their third album, it seems the band has collectively gotten their act together.
While past releases have gained acclaim, they’ve mostly been built on nothing more than a frantic and ultimately wasted energy. With Prequel to the Sequel, Doherty and co. have successfully put those antics behind them, while giving them direct notice with intensely vulnerable lyrics. The musicality is tight and purposeful creating, for the first time, a true collaboration between all members of Babyshambles. From catchy pop rock mixed with reckless garage rock, Babyshambles have worked out an album that is reminiscent of britpop’s glory days.
There are many reasons one could fall in love with this album. What it does best though, is leave you with songs bursting to the brim with joy and whimsy, all while articulating deeply personal thoughts and tribulations. It’s a beautifully crafted mix that allows the ‘Shambles talent shine through. While the music is simple, the lyrics are rich and the album is a chugging good time that flows seamlessly. It’s reminiscent of The Strokes, but with a little more grime and a little more effort.
The album glides through a multitude of moods, mostly culminating with a glimmer of despair. From the punching introduction of Fireman, it’s made clear that Doherty and co. are in charge for the next hour. The album breezes through catchy tracks like the first single Nothing Comes to Nothing and through to Maybelline, then transitions to the gloomy western infused Dr.No, which will undoubtedly make you want to snap your fingers and tap your foot. The slowly moving Penguins makes Picture Me in a Hospital all the more rambunctious. By the time the album wraps up with the brooding Minefield it’s evident that Babyshambles have successfully waged their way through a battlefield of the rock n’ roll lifestyle. Luckily, this time around they’ve emerged victorious and show no signs of slowing down.
::: covering reviews of the latest music releases on RenownedForSound.com