Babyshambles: Sequel to the Prequel (Parlophone)

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Babyshambles: Fall from Grace
Babyshambles: Sequel to the Prequel (Parlophone)

Although the damaged Pete Doherty may never live up to the promise of the Libertines, this third album with the very patient Babyshambles – five years on from their indifferent Shotter's Nation -- goes some way to redeeming him in his second stab at a career.

It'll be divisive because they can hardly be accused of originality and the poetic spirit he once possessed often eludes him, but Doherty and band here sound more tightly committed on an album of useful diversity.

Here's thrashy rock, jangle folk-pop (the lazy Fall from Grace), whiny pop-rock (Maybelline), whimsical Kinks-style Anglo-pop (the title track), some likable MOR ska with melodica (Dr No) and some genuinely felt self-assessment (the power-pop of Nothing Comes From Nothing, the domestic-to-bonkers Penguins).

Among the finer moments is his bruised Picture Me in A Hospital – which you could imagine Shane MacGowan making even more excoriating self-laceration – and Seven Shades in which he obliquely appears to address his happily heroin-dependent state.

Yes, you can easily tick off the Who, Clash, Iggy and other references. But when the final words are “it's a minefield out there, my mind is on the run”, you don't doubt him.

A belated but more than decent holding action.

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