Frequent Moments Of Brilliance,
This review is from: Shotter's Nation (Audio CD)
Following Babyshambles’ return to recording with last year’s stonking Sequel To The Prequel (the best thing Pete Doherty has done since The Libertines, IMHO), I thought I would give this 2007 effort another listen. I have always thought Shotter’s Nation, though scoring more highly in terms of consistency, did not quite reach the heights (or level of 'diversity’) of 2005’s Down In Albion or, indeed (subsequently) the song-writing quality of Sequel, and recent listenings have confirmed this view. That is not to say Shotter’s Nation is a bad album – far from it, it contains more subtle melodies, (typical Doherty) idiosyncratically poetic lyrics (albeit with a near-all-consuming drugs theme) and innovative song structures than most bands could dream of – plus an impressive sound mix of spontaneity and assuredness, courtesy of producer Stephen Street.
There is, perhaps unsurprisingly, a repeating theme here of the persecuted artist, a victim of circumstance with music the only route to spiritual salvation ('This song might deliver me straight from the harshness of misery’). This does not, however, detract overly from album highlights such as the vibrant, retro, Kinks-inspired Delivery, the beautifully subtle (and ironic) tale of media exploitation of Unstookie Titled; Deft Left Hand, with its intoxicating intro riff followed by Doherty’s barbed plea from the heart (almost certainly to a certain Ms Moss), 'That woman’s tears could be the death of me....oh dear’, and then (best of all) the lovingly recaptured Libertines spirit (that straining harmonica) of Doherty’s trip to Mr Cocker’s ‘kitchen sink drama school’ in the brilliant tale of domestic upheaval of Baddie’s Boogie, 'Thinking, she’s far too good looking to do the cooking’.
Thereafter, we still have the catchy hooks of album opener Carry On Up The Morning, the deceptive jauntiness and duplicity of You Talk, the rhythmic sophistication and song-writing parody (plus embedded Ian Brown lyrics) in French Dog Blues, the ambivalent romantic tale at the heart of There She Goes (certainly more Robert Smith- than Lou Reed-like) and the exquisite Bert Jansch guitar on the beautiful album closer, and (again) sorry tale, Lost Art Of Murder. Much to admire, therefore, and, given the quality of Sequel To The Prequel, (hopefully) to look forward to.