Dirty Pretty Things Waterloo to Anywhere

Dirty Pretty Things Waterloo to Anywhere
The demise of the Libertines was a sad story, but not because of Pete Doherty’s downward spiral into drug addiction and constant arrests. The true shame was that a self-absorbed and overrated songwriter overshadowed the band’s true talent — Carl Barât. Don’t believe me? Well, try listening to Babyshambles’ Down in Albion and then this debut by Barât’s new band Dirty Pretty Things. There’s no contest as to who the more talented songwriter is. Waterloo to Anywhere finds the debonair front-man leaving his past behind him and moving on with a collection of songs that rival and sometimes better those of his first band. And it’s not just him getting on with his life; two other ex-Libs, drummer Gary Powell and Doherty’s replacement Anthony Rossomando, are in the fold, as well as former Cooper Temple Clause bassist Didz Hammond, forming a band with a "last gang in town” mentality. Gone is the shambolic production that either elevated or marred the Libs’ work, and in its place a visceral sound that oozes passion and life. Perhaps the finest feature — besides hearing Barât revel in his charming prose without Doherty’s slurred drawl — are the crisp, pronounced guitars that instigate wild rave-ups like the brilliant riff-led chorus of "Doctors and Dealers,” and the hyperactive "You Fucking Love It,” a song that speaks volumes about the reaction this album deserves.

Considering everything that went on in the last act of the Libertines, would you say writing this record was a cathartic experience? When people have asked me that I’ve always said no, but as it turns out, I’m starting to think perhaps it was… That’s weird. You’d never guess what I’m looking at: a guy with a parachute, on a bicycle, parachuting into the festival. That is fucking strange. Sorry, I had to mention that.

Is it more difficult to write on your own than with a songwriting partner like Pete? I found it very hard at first, but then I realised that was only because of my confidence. And the most important thing about partnership to me, I realised, was not really someone contributing, but someone helping you with direction and telling you if it’s shit or not. That’s what I needed and that’s what Didz did a lot with me on this record.

Did you begin writing this record after the Libertines ended? Yeah, I wanted a fresh start and didn’t want the band to forever be in the shadow of the fucking Libertines. That’s not something I want to carry on living with, I’ve had enough of that shit, the fucking fall-out of the Libertines. (Island)