BMG / Clouds Hill
Peter Doherty has released his new solo album, Hamburg Demonstrations, through BMG/Clouds Hill today, Friday the 2nd December. The Libertines frontman has had a busy year, in addition to releasing his sophomore solo album, he has toured South America with The Libertines, completed a solo tour of the UK and has just finished a tour of France with his new band, The Puta Madres, including two sold out nights at the Bataclan, the venue where the massacre of innocent concert goers occurred just over twelve months ago. So given his past experiences, both personally, and as a member of The Libertines, what does Peter Doherty‘s sophomore solo release have to offer?
Kolly Kibber opens the Hamburg Demonstrations in a mellow style with a delicate acoustic touch that builds to a satisfying chorus, whilst the following two tracks, Down For The Outing and Birdcage, carry a more primitive feel that’s akin to a contemporary version of the kinks. For me the highlights of this album are at the mid-point, Hell To Pay At The Gates Of Heaven is a track written after the Paris attacks, appropriately this number carries a distinctly European feel about it’s delivery, and Flags Of The Old Regime which is dedicated to Amy Winehouse, this poignant soulful track, that is dedicated to his lost love, is one that is obviously tinged with regrets and sadness. The whole album is laid back in it’s delivery, with Only A Spy In The House Of Love picking up the pace to anything approaching The Libertines livelier recordings. The fact that he has recruited a talented backing band in the Puta Madres, including Trampolene‘s Jack Jones, helps give a feel to the material that moves it away from being a mellower take on The Libertines sound.
There’s an unmistakable echo of The Libertines about this album, but that isn’t the end of the story, he has added his own experiences and style to this laid back offering. Peter Doherty is undoubtedly a survivor, his self destructive tendencies have been well documented over the years so I’m not going to dwell on them here, but they have clearly influenced his songwriting, most notably on the heart rending Flags Of The Old Regime. This isn’t a recreation of former glories, yes it’s clearly influenced by them, but this is an album where he has taken things in his own direction, and built on the promising material on his debut album, Grace/Wasteland, that proves that there’s still life in the original Libertine.
You can order Hamburg Demonstrations here