Dirty Pretty Things Romance at Short Notice

The fallout of the Libertines produced a divide between the two songwriters and they each went in new directions: Pete Doherty with Babyshambles and Carl Barât with Dirty Pretty Things. While neither could quite match the magic of the Libs, Barât seemed to have the edge in 2006 with Waterloo to Anywhere, a confident debut that maintained the poetic spark and Anglophonic hook-filled ditties of his former band. Babyshambles were always the more prolific (and inconsistent) of the two, and judging by album number two for DPT, it appears Pete might have regained the edge for the time being. Romance at Short Notice is an immediate disappointment, largely because the spark has dimmed and the hooks are, well, just not as liberal. The Libs are known for birthing bands like the Kooks and the View but on songs like the clumsy "Plastic Hearts,” Barât sounds like just another follower. And where are all the loud guitars that gave DPT their distinction? Without them, Barât’s songwriting appears pedestrian and the band nothing special. It’s a shame but maybe what we need is to get Carl and Pete back together. It’s what everyone wants in the end. (Mercury)