Babyshambles is a band that I have followed with extreme attention making them my touchstone for this new era of music. I have loosely compared Doherty with Johnny Thunders of New York Dolls fame and of later Heartbreakers/solo work. Babyshambles have a grasp of that NYC feel of raw rock ‘n’ roll as it rumbled out of clubs back in the late ‘70s. Their Down in Albion was an album that I felt was classic in every sense even if I’m not agreed with by fellow critics. But that’s ok. The New York Dolls suffered the same fate and see how important they’ve become.
The Blinding EP, released earlier this year (2007) as a precursor to Shotter’s Nation, was a weak effort as far as I was concerned. It acted as a bridge that was full of holes, making me wary and disturbed. But with the release of the excellent Shotter’s Nation, the band, although derivative in many areas – but who isn’t nowadays – restores my faith almost completely.
The album has plenty of Kinks-like songs and NYC heart, like that heard on the excellent first single, “Delivery.” Shotter’s Nation is Babyshambles’ second album, and a very good one it is. If The Strokes could draw up a whirlwind of appreciative attention, then Babyshambles should not have any problems. Babyshambles is twice as good as The Strokes and yet they do not draw love from the same well. Most of the attention provided the band is siphoned off by Doherty’s well publicized arrests. But for those that concentrate on the music, Babyshambles is pure gold, exactly as heard on Shotter’s Nation.
For those that remember with love, those late ‘70s rock bands like New York Dolls, Shotter’s Nation will be a breath of air to those who have otherwise “given up” on classic city underground rock ‘n’ roll.