Pete Doherty
   
Grace/Wastelands
   
   

Release Date: March 24, 2009
Produced by: Stephen Street
Format: CD

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03/23/2009
Matt Rowe


 

For those that remember the troubled, drug-addled exploits of the legendary guitarist from New York Dolls, Johnny Thunders, it should be noted that Libertines/Babyshambles’ Pete Doherty does a wonderful job of channeling that long lost rock enigma.  Whether by design or merely happenstance, Pete Doherty is the equal in many ways.  It might even be said that he is more talented than Thunders was.  Thunders’ lifestyle was a Rock ‘n’ Roll equation.  He lived it fully and with no regrets (that we know of).  Pete Doherty seems to be at the stage where Thunders was at one time, with a quest to be something special, without the need for a band’s name.  In 1978, Thunders created a timeless gem with So Alone.  “You Can’t Put Your Arms Around a Memory,” one of the memorable tunes from that album, still shows up in soundtracks thirty years later.

Pete Doherty travels the same pathways with the release of his debut solo effort, Grace/Wastelands.  This album showcases well the talents of this song-crafter, who has written consistently engaging and wonderful tunes with both Libertines, and Babyshambles.  There is a mix of styles found on the album, with ventures into Jazz (“Sweet By and By”), and its variations.  Of course, the gritty rock tunes are here as well as a few ballads. 

“Arcadie” opens the album as a “pure and simple” acoustically delivered ballad.  But your attention is snared by the album’s second tune, “Last of English Roses,” a wonderfully hypnotic Rock tune with all the right elements in its makeup.  Doherty goes back in time with a tune that Lynch would love, with the great, if not haunting, “Death Around the Eyes.”

“Through the Looking Glass” has a familiar Doherty/Babyshambles signature to it.  The album moves along well hitting strides with a Thunders-like “Palace of Bone.”  The song is one of the album’s shining moments, musically adept and sounding like a champ.  “Broken Love Song” is a brilliant tune, no question.  The album closes convincingly with the grand “New Love Grows on Trees,” the pleading jazzy, “Don’t Fall Backwards,” and the ‘unusual for Doherty’ acoustic, “Bside.”

Grace/Wastelands may not have the endearing classic feel of Thunders’ brilliant So Alone, but it isn’t for lack of trying.  In fact, with this album, it is clear to this reviewer that Doherty is headed for his own So Alone masterpiece.  Pete Doherty is a serious Rock and Roll talent.  Grace/Wastelands is clear evidence of his emergence as one for the ages.  Doherty is this era’s Thunders and for a lot of Rock fans of that by-gone gritty, late ‘70s period, this is great news.

 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 



 
     
     
     

 

 

   
 
     

 

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