Carl Barât CD
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The Libertines’ recent festival reunion was blessed – legends-in-their-own-lunchtime (well, they didn’t last very long) overcome bessie-mate bust-up to deliver a ‘greatest’ set list minus the ‘hope you like our new direction’ part. But there’s a touch of the curse about it too, as Carl Barât’s solo debut album has the tough task of very quickly following the band’s comeback.
Try as they might, Barât’s Dirty Pretty Things felt too contrived. The strength of his present set-up is that whatever form his songs deserve, they get. It means that ‘ruffian swagger’ is no longer a default setting, while the focus has shifted from Albion to a more European canon. Barât’s new collaborators reputedly include a member (or two) of British balladeers Cousteau, who share something of Tindersticks’ Gallic charm. It’s no great surprise given Barât’s French/Russian/Polish roots – though you probably weren’t expecting him to do the time warp as well.
Opener The Magus finds its feet around 1974, sounding more than a touch glam and theatrical, with splintering Aladdin Sane piano. It’s just a small step to the Brel/Brecht drama of The Fall (don’t forget, Barât’s forthcoming book Threepenny Memoir takes its cue from Brecht’s Threepenny Opera) while Shadows Fall’s sad chords and sadder cellos are stained with Serge Gainsbourg’s cigarette smoke. Je Regrette, Je Regrette even has a French title, though there’s nowhere on Googlemaps for this concoction of 60s Joe Meek production, muscular Smithsian bass, Libertines skiffle and a choir. Amazingly, the track not only avoids resembling a dog’s dinner, it’s also craftily catchy.
The lead single, though, is Run With the Boys, which resembles early solo Morrissey crossed with The Style Council. As unfair as unstitching the threads of each track sounds, it’s also fair to say Barât’s album is a composite of his musical education before he met Pete Doherty. Talking of his old mucker, So Long, My Lover is another Libertines echo (albeit in polished form), and though it’s doubtless about Carl’s old flame Annalisa Astarita, the sentiment "I was reckless, you were free / I took you round the world with me / so holy together / no devils could tear us apart," applies to Pete just as much. Try as he might, Barât can run, to Europe and beyond, but he will always find it hard to hide from his past.--Martin Aston
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Top Customer Reviews
Barat's lyrics are intricate and poetic, and the tracks seem to have plenty of laid back swagger about them. Going from the under-produced sound of The Libertines this album really emphasises his voice and a less guitar-orientated mix means his lyrics cut through the simple yet effective beats and riffs. Tracks such as "Je Regrette, Je Regrette" and "She's Something" seem unusual at the first listen but they are truly infectious and keep me listening to this album on repeat at work.
A brilliant album from Carl Barat which I thoroughly recommend.
But there are some very good moments on here, including the atmospheric 'Shadows Fall', the energetic 'Run With the Boys' and very Barat-esque opener 'The Magus'. There's plenty of highly competent instrumentation, and some work has obviously gone into making this record sound polished and getting the best out of the songs. There aren't any particularly standout low points, it's just that nothing on the album seems that memorable either. If you're a Barat fan it's probably worth picking up, as it's fairly enjoyable and presents a different side to the man and the artist. More casual listeners will struggle to play this more than a handful of times I suspect.
I'm going to be honest, I'd read reviews, and thought, dear God, Carl has killed it.
Libertines, Dirty Pretty things... then this. And when I heard it first time I thought this too.
BUT, that was only because it was so different from what I was extecting. I was expecting another album full of scratchy indie guitars, because that was the Carl we all knew and loved. But this really grew on me. I heard all the "different sound" stuff, but it really is an amazing album.
Carve my name is a personal favorite.
If I'm honest, I wish we could go back to the 'Up the bracket' days. The Libertines will always have a place in my heart. But this is in a new direction, and I love this too.
For a first venture into the solo career, Carl has suprised us all.
I love it.
The album showcases Carl's obvious love for theatrical rock music, with his deeply poetic lyrics, a mostly laid back style, and his trademark swagger shining throughout. Although there is nothing which is at all ground-breaking or even original to be found, this is just good music which, like Pete's full-length solo offering 'Grace/Wastelands', is very different to the often chaotic sound of their band The Libertines, and indeed Carl's second band Dirty Pretty Things. This was a completely new direction for the man, with a much more stripped back, calmer sound, and lyrics which are naturally more personal to him. 'Carl Barât' is a versatile record, which leaves behind many examples of his song-writing brilliance.
The songs on here which I'd really have to highlight is the opener 'The Magnus', the catchy, acoustic, and folksy 'She's Something', the upbeat single 'Run With the Boys', sublime 'Carve My Name', the gentle retro ballad 'What Have I Done', the theatrical and nostalgic 'So Long, My Lover', and dreamy 'Shadows Falls', which truly showcases Carl's beautiful voice to perfection. In all honesty though, there are no duds to be found on here, it's all excellent stuff.
The front cover shows off Carl's model looks, but the booklet contained in this cardboard housed package, features no such striking photographs, but the full set of lyrics to each of the songs.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Played once then back on the shelf to dusty
Its pretty rubbish one star is too many glad I bought it second hand
Yeah, well he was writing and souping up half of the libs songs and he is a brilliant songwriter, although dirty pretty things lost me along the way, I always had faith in Carl... Read morePublished on 29 Feb. 2012 by Sylvester J. Velasco
I hate to use such a trite cliche as "grower", but this album is such a grower! Many of the criticisms I've read in the music press seem to be centred around the the fact that... Read morePublished on 2 Feb. 2011 by Sir Michael Bruce
Though really different from what he did before with the Libertines and Dirty Pretty Things, this album is really good. It gives a new view on Carl Barat's talents. Read morePublished on 3 Nov. 2010 by sabrina
Ignore stupid review above this album is actually the best thing any of the Libertines have done since the band fell apart. Read morePublished on 5 Oct. 2010 by John Self