Peter Doherty - Grace Wastelands
- Henry Northmore
- 19 February 2009
There’s no denying Peter Doherty has talent, The Libertines were a breath of fresh air that gave the indie scene a much needed kick up the arse back in 2002. It’s a story that’s been retold a thousand times from NME to the News of the World, revelling in the graphic details of drug abuse, supermodel girlfriends and the the inevitable split with writing partner Carl Barât.
With The Libertines dead and seemingly buried (although reformation rumours continue to surface) Barât formed Dirty Pretty Things and Doherty forged his own path with Babyshambles, who true to their name produced a shambolic indie racket. When they were good they were insightful, sharp and addictive, but their output varied wildly in quality.
Hailed as Doherty’s first true solo album, Grace Wastelands is a low-key indie shuffle steeped in Doherty’s love of a mythic England. He sees poetry in the world of chavs, street hustlers and everyday lowlifes. It’s more coherent than much of Babyshamble’s output (Barât even crops up as co-writer on ‘A Little Death Around the Eyes’) but conversely it loses some of its danger and appeal as the edges are smoothed out. There are the usual flashes of genius where Doherty seems to write with ease, but it still feels like the best is yet to come from this wayward talent.