Waterloo to Anywhere

Studio Album by released in 2006
Waterloo to Anywhere's tracklist:
Deadwood
Doctors and Dealers
Bang Bang You're Dead
Blood Thirsty Bastards
The Gentry Cove
Gin & Milk
The Enemy
If You Love a Woman
You Fucking Love It
Wondering
Last of the Small Town Playboys
B.U.R.M.A.

Waterloo to Anywhere review

It’s difficult to see where Dirty Pretty Things begins and The Libertines end

Waterloo to Anywhere is the debut album from ex-Libertines Carl Barat's new band, Dirty Pretty Things. It’s difficult to see where Dirty Pretty Things begins and The Libertines end. As well as Libertines frontman Carl Barat and drummer Gary Powell, Dirty Pretty Things include former guitar tech John Rossomando and bassist Didz Hammond (who has jumped the sinking Cooper Temple Clause to join), both of whom actually stood in for Pete Doherty at Libertines shows, in the US and Germany respectively, in 2003. The Doherty-less tours reinforced the idea that Carl Barat was really the one central driving force behind the band, but it’s perhaps not that surprising – given the often lukewarm reactions to those tours – that Barat hasn’t chosen to brave releasing another album under the Libertines name. An album as English as traffic jams and red telephone boxes, and packed with musical references to both the melodic punk of The Clash and dandy-ish swagger of The Kinks, Waterloo to Anywhere is a must for fans of classic English songwriting, regardless of what generation you are from. The message is loud and clear: despite having seen his old band ripped apart and his dreams of Arcadia hijacked, Carl Barat still isn't prepared to compromise or sweep the past under the carpet.

Old scores get settled here with a Mafiosi's zeal

Not that Dirty Pretty Things' debut arrives unburdened by the traumas of the last few years. As Carl is all too aware, Waterloo has long been a metaphor for final reckonings, and old scores get settled here with a Mafiosi's zeal. Snarling references to "cracked-up egos" in Doctors & Dealers and "sycophants and vampires" in Blood Thirsty Bastards suggest he won't be accepting any more invites round to Wolfman's lair any time soon, while swaggering first single Bang Bang You're Dead finally pulls the trigger on his relationship with Pete Doherty. If Can't Stand Me Now catalogued the breakdown of their relationship, here the inter-band spite is escalated to levels not seen since John Lennon's scathing assault on Paul McCartney in How Do You Sleep? Uncertainty and regret hang heavy over proceedings. Gin & Milk sees Carl lost in a long dark night of the soul, while The Enemy is darker still, a paranoid tale of internal demons. Waterloo to Anywhere rocks viciously from start to finish. You Fucking Love It is a brutal Buzzcocks-with-toothache thrash which will have stray Kooks fans screaming for the exits, while If You Love A Woman is bleaker still, the sound of Kings Of Leon strapped into the dentist's chair. Anyone still harboring ideas this is the work of "the sensible Libertine", meanwhile, should be directed to corpse-referencing skank The Gentry Cove.

Waterloo to Anywhere sounds remarkably tight

In every respect, Waterloo to Anywhere – from its title down – exactly meets your expectations of what Barat's post-Libertines vehicle would sound like. In stark contrast to the sense of impending collapse surrounding Babyshambles' debut Down In Albion, Waterloo to Anywhere sounds remarkably tight. The jangling guitars and Dave Sardy's (Jet, Oasis) production provide a real sense of urgency. In fact, it’s hard to imagine that, had they stayed together, The Libertines would ever have released an album this tight and cohesive. Barat does a great job of revitalizing the ramshackle thrills that the Libertines did all too briefly so well. But there’s no sign of the acoustic crap or distracted meandering that was sandwiched between their best moments. Eschewing finesse, the music is torrid and rumbustious, the spiky guitars and clattering drums overlaid with Barat's familiarly arch, low-toned vocals. Energy levels are high, but – as ever – it's the songs' intellectual content that's most striking. The last few years have left Barat with myriad axes to grind, and grind them he does. Given the freakshow that Carl found himself caught up in, it's heartening that he sought refuge in the writing of some quality songs, rather than in the crack pipe. Smart; savvy; insanely resilient: Waterloo to Anywhere is just the ticket.

(23.05.2006)
Rate review4.97
Total votes - 206


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