Babyshambles – Sequel To The Prequel
Download: Sequel to the Prequel
It’s impossible to talk about a new Babyshambles album without focusing on the headline-making, drug-taking antics of one Peter Doherty. But all that kind of talk is so mid-Noughties, and if anyone deserves credit for getting Sequel To The Prequel made it’s bassist Drew McConnell – whose brush with death following a bike accident in 2011 instilled him with a newfound lust for life and determination to put a new Babyshambles record together. He even co-wrote a lot of the album, and his contribution is most notable on the autobiographical ‘Picture Me In A Hospital’.
Despite such weighty and profound origins, Sequel To The Prequel is actually the most carefree and uninhibited album Doherty has ever been involved in. At some points, like when he sneaks in a cheeky ‘Night Nuuuurse’ into the jaunty ska track ‘Dr No’, he even sounds like he’s having fun.
This new laidback Pete Doherty is both the making and breaking of Sequel To The Prequel. On the good side it leads to relaxed pop songs like the excellent ‘Fall From Grace’ and lead single ‘Nothing Comes To Nothing’. On the bad side, it leads to a few lazy gambits. The ramshackle opening track ‘Fireman’ sounds like a scratchy demo and ‘Farmer’s Daughter’ is a lumbering and sleepy ballad that’s crying out for a bit more direction.
The song that best sums up the patchy nature of Sequel To The Prequel is ‘Penguins’, which features some embarrassing lyrics about going to the zoo: “Saturday night turned into Sunday morning / Just like it’s supposed to / Everybody’s gone it’s just me and you / We can do what you like / Go to the zoo / We could see monkeys / We could see snakes / We could see penguins / Oh penguins are great”. Just when you’re thinking Doherty has completely lost the plot, the song bursts into life with a sharp guitar line, clattering drums and a sneering, charismatic chorus: ”I really don’t like your boyfriend’s face / And I’m going to try and take his place”.
You can’t help but feel that if Doherty really put his mind to it then Sequel To The Prequel could have been a triumphant rehabilitation from overrated tabloid-fodder to respected musician. Instead it’s a frustrating listen that shows only occasional flashes of brilliance – which is probably all Pete Doherty has ever been capable of.