Thursday, 27 November 2008

'Love gone cold in the shades of doubt ' - Pete Doherty and Carl Barat

Since the Libertines split in 2004, rumours have been rife about a reunion in the music press and every year fans yearn for Pete Doherty and Carl Barat to get back together. We’ve been teased by Carl’s appearance at Pete’s solo show in 2007 but the reunion has never been fully or officially consummated. To be honest, I think it’s probably for the best

The genius of the Libertines was the combination of Pete’s poetic shambolic approach to song writing fused with Carl’s more hard driven and well versed musicianship and lyricism. Undoubtedly they wrote two great albums in Up the Bracket and The Libertines. However those albums were written in an atmosphere of great love/tension between Carl and Pete and I think they may find that depressingly hard to recreate without forcing songs. Both Libertines have moved on musically, to varying degrees of success. Pete’s riotous poetry has gone from strength to strength, working with a number of song writing partners during his time with Babyshambles. Sure his work isn’t greatly consistent but works such as Killamanjiro, Fuck Forever, Back from the Dead, Albion, You Talk and The Lost Art of Murder confirm Doherty as one of the standout songwriters of the last decade. I can only hope as he fades from the media spotlight as a figure of public hate, his undoubted ability can shine through more consistently so that he or Babyshambles deliver a great album in the near future.

Post-Libertines life has exposed the mediocrity of Carl Barat. Sure he can write an accessible driving indie song like Bang Bang Your Dead or The Gentry Cove but such songwriters are ten-a-penny at the moment in the British music industry. Other bands have done it better since the formation of Barat’s, Dirty Pretty Things in 2005, such as The Arctic Monkeys, Babyshambles and Bloc Party (circa Silent Alarm era). Dirty Pretty Things have paled and broken up in the face of superior competition. It seems that ‘Waterloo to Anywhere’ was treated kindly in an atmosphere of Libertine nostalgia but that wave had been ridden by the time that ‘Romance at Short Notice’ was released. The album has been greeted with apathy and the group have broken up, it seems that Barat has some self-reinventing to do before he can be considered in the same light as Doherty.

I am aware that my view on this issue may well get a lot of people’s backs up. I’m just trying to point out to all Libertines fans that a reunion between Carl and Pete may well prove underwhelming, charring memories of them at their best and it will almost certainly be a hindrance to Pete’s future song writing potential.

Tim Cox

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