Peter Doherty Grace/Wastelands

Peter Doherty Grace/Wastelands
With Pete — sorry, Peter — Doherty, it's hard to talk about music without considering the baggage that his drug troubles bring. Still, Grace/Wastelands can stand alone as a deftly handled record peppered with intriguing moments of blinding light and harsh darkness. Then again, to ignore Pete Doherty's story is as ridiculous as thinking that adding the "r" to the end of his name might add an air of maturity to his dirty mystique. The light ("Arcadie" and "The Last of the English Roses") and the dark ("Salome" and "Sheep Skin Tearaway," featuring the luminous Dot Allison) are much more significant given Doherty's history, and why shouldn't they be? Had he not outlived others with the same predilections, wouldn't Keith Richards be just another capable rock guitarist? Keef might need Mick to prop him up, and so it is here, with Blur's Graham Coxon, Carl Barat, Allison and others lending a hand; it's tough to say if the record would succeed if not for those friends. Also, would Pete be here at all without some of those same people? If Pete wants the "r," that's fine. But he'd — and we'd — best not forget that he got to this delicate and dark place via the end of a needle. (EMI)