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Friday, Dec. 2, 2005


Babyshambles : "Down In Albion"

Pete Doherty may be a rock 'n' roll cliche, but in among all that hard living he has managed to keep it together long enough to record two of the most vital rock albums produced in recent years, The Libertines' "Up The Bracket" and the self-titled follow-up.

Expectations are high, then, for Doherty's first release without former band mate Carl Barat -- and with his new band, Babyshambles. The results are mixed. Clocking in at a bloated 64 minutes, this concept album is almost twice as long as The Libertines' debut. Certainly, a little editing may also have stopped misfires like the two out-of-place reggae tracks, "Sticks and Stones," and "Pentonville," from seeing the light of day. However, there is much he does get right, notably the epic "Albion" and the bouncy "La Belle et la Bete," featuring a jaunty bass line and backing vocals from Moss.

That said, there is nothing that comes close to the urgency of The Libertines' previous releases although "Killamangiro" and the anti-Oasis anthem, "F#@k Forever" create some much-needed rowdiness. "The 32 of December" is a melodic reminder that Doherty has his tender side as well. Though it's uneven at best, the album's bright spots show that Doherty still has something to offer besides rock-star antics.

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