Dirty Pretty Things - Waterloo To Anywhere
It's highly unlikely that Pete Doherty and Carl Barat ever sat down in the office of a high-powered lawyer and thrashed out a divorce settlement following the messy split of the Libertines, but listening to the debut album from Barat's new band Dirty Pretty Things, at times that's what it feels like. The use of the title of the famed Libs demo sessions as the name of your new band? You can have that, Pete. Former drummer Gary Powell? Carl's. The lyrics? Pete's. The tunes? Well, if Waterloo to Anywhere is anything to go by, Carl certainly walked away with those in his back pocket.
It's naive, of course, to expect Barat to turn out an album anywhere near as epoch-making - or indeed just as downright brilliant - as Up The Bracket, and as long as you don't approach them expecting the Libs Mark II, Dirty Pretty Things have much to offer. Waterloo to Anywhere certainly makes a strong start, with a storming opening trio of "Deadwood", "Doctors and Dealers" and "Bang Bang You're Dead". All three are fast-paced, catchy and tuneful; and they do, of course, all sound like classic Barat. The latter, in particular, was an obvious choice from day one as the leadoff single, showcasing his knack for a jaunty tune at its fullest, although its "Can't Stand Me Now"-style ranting about Pete barely seems necessary or relevant these days. "The Gentry Cove", meanwhile, represents a rare foray into something different, and its ska-lite tone largely succeeds, while "You Fucking Love It" is a Buzzcocks-chorused romp far more frantic than anything the Libs ever attempted on record; simplistic it may be, but you'll find your head bouncing involuntarily whether you like it or not.
It seems, though, that DPT are at their best when concentrating on tunes, rather than lyrics or sentiment. "Gin & Milk", otherwise strong, gets bogged down in sub-Sixth Form philosophy with lines like "No-one gives a fuck about the values I would die for". But then, Dirty Pretty Things aren't about providing a romanticised set of values to cling onto. With the disintegration of the Libertines and the departure of Doherty, Barat has no time for these notions of "Albion" and "Arcadia" any more. He's more about crafting indie-punk-rock tunes that grab you by the throat and thrill the feet on the nation's indie dancefloors. After all, do we need another Libertines right now? Unlikely. But would we like a few more top-notch Barat tunes to put alongside the likes of "I Get Along" and "Time For Heroes"? Of course we would. And, thankfully, with Waterloo to Anywhere, Carl's already begun to deliver on that promise. It's good to have him back.