PETER DOHERTY / HAMBURG DEMONSTRATIONS

Kolly Kibber serves as a fantastic album opener, setting the tone of what we can expect from this highly anticipated 2nd solo album from The Libertines icon. Like many people, I had no idea who Kolly Kibber is so with the help of my good friend, Google; I learned that it was a reference from the book and subsequent film adaptations, Brighton Rock. Great reference and I won’t spoil the film but it’s worth checking out.

Down For The Outing next and it seamlessly follows the same pace as the opener. I love the simplicity of Doherty’s solo stuff. With the acoustic sound as a backdrop, it gives way for his vocals to take precedence. This song is lovely though, an almost love letter to his parents with lyrics such as:

“I’m sorry dad, I’m for the good times that I had, they make me look so bad.
I’m sorry mum, I’m sorry for the good things that I’ve done that give you hope when there was none”
.

LONDON, ENGLAND - JANUARY 30: (EDITORS NOTE: Image has been converted to black and white) Pete Doherty of The Libertines performs on stage at The O2 Arena on January 30, 2016 in London, England. (Photo by Neil Lupin/Redferns)
LONDON, ENGLAND – JANUARY 30: Pete Doherty of The Libertines performs on stage at The O2 Arena on January 30, 2016 in London, England. (Photo by Neil Lupin/Redferns)

Nobody really knows if Pete Doherty is clean nowadays but this track suggests that he perhaps is and now reminiscing about the drug-fuelled days (of which, there were fucking loads!) and the effect it had on him and his family.

Birdcage speeds up the tempo a little with beautiful backing vocals adding a new dimension of passion. The lyrics give a sense of being trapped but still being able to see a different outlook on life from “within the cage”. There’s also references to being a celebrity and healing, perhaps a reference to Pete’s numerous stints in rehab? Alongside this, there’s the “swagger” that Doherty oozes which shines through on this track.

The Paris terror attacks were absolutely horrific and Pete recently played at the now reopened Bataclan. Hell To Pay At The Gates Of Heaven is a track about these tragic series of events. Detailing how concerned he is about how young some of the terrorists are and how they sometimes don’t have any choice but to join terrorist organisations while we need to appreciate how lucky we are with our opportunity to pick up a guitar rather than a gun. It’s a beautiful yet scary metaphor at the same time.

“Come on boys, choose your weapons. J-45 or an AK-47?”

Flags From The Old Regime is a tribute to the fantastic Amy Winehouse. Pete and Amy were good friends which was well documented throughout the media where they focused on the pairs drug use and the issues they were facing by attempting to battle their demons. This song actually came out last year as a single with all proceeds going to the Amy Winehouse Foundation, a really sweet touch and a great way to remember such a talented artist. (Please note: the following video isn’t the album version)

I Don’t Love Anyone (But You’re Not Just Anyone) V2 is beautiful. There’s two versions of this track on the album (hence the V2) and both are equally as beautiful. I reviewed it when it first came out so head here to read that. (My views on both versions are the same so it means less writing for me and less reading for you. Bonus!)

A Spy in the House of love begins with the distinctive noise of a typewriter which instantly leads you to believe this is going to be a “wordy” song and it doesn’t disappoint. It’s a brilliant example of Pete’s love for French jazz as the tempo increases dramatically for the first time on the album. It’s got an undertone of funk to it as well which works perfectly alongside Pete’s gravelly vocals. If it had any sort of chance of being chosen, this would make a brilliant bond theme and not just because the title sounds like a bond film. Just saying. 
 
 
Oily Boker continues with the French jazz influence building up to something quite dramatic for this otherwise mellow album. With the added sound bites, the drama actually took me by surprise but not in a bad way. It doesn’t take you away from the otherwise classic Doherty sound. The song ends with a minute and half instrumental which is incredibly relaxing and a fantastic way to finish off such a powerful track on the album. It’s a good comedown but Pete’s no doubt got a lot of experience when it comes to these.
 
 
The Whole World Is A Playground is one of my favourite tracks on the album. It reminds me of some of the early days Libertines minus the heavy percussion and it just flows perfectly whilst conjuring up some happy imagery. It’s lethargic, simple but most importantly, effective.
 
 
The final track on the album She Is Far is a fine example of Pete’s incredibly talented writing ability. About a lost love, you can really sense the emotions. It’s a beautiful song to end an equally beautiful album. 
 

It’s clear on this album perhaps more than any other of Doherty’s and The Libertines discography just how complex and poetic a man Pete Doherty. I have no idea what half of the words mean most of the time yet the way they’re presented makes me think I do. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again now, Doherty is one of the finest modern day poets around with a beautiful relationship with the English language. Sounds well cheesy but I bet most of you agree with me.

Words by Robert Smith(@robertmsmith)

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