- 16 Mar 22
One-time enfant terrible of Brit-punk goes chamber-pop with French composer
For a cohort of music fans, now in their thirties, Peter Doherty was once an exalted blend of Lennon and Cobain, a pied piper of opiate dreams and killer couplets. His star may have waned in the two decades since The Libertines’ debut, but this collaboration with French songwriter and arranger Frédéric Lo is a breath of fresh Gallic air.
Gone are the angry guitars and snarled vocals, replaced with a string-laden backdrop of pristine chamber-pop: think Idles’ Joe Talbot recording with The Divine Comedy’s Neil Hannon. It all sounds remarkably pleasant, from the Richard Hawley-esque guitar solo on the title-track, to the wonderfully catchy handclaps and toe-taps of the poptastic ‘You Can’t Keep It From Me Forever’ – not to mention the lounge-like swing of ‘Keeping Me On File’. Much of the music is piano-driven, like chilling addiction anthem ‘The Monster’, or the brilliant ‘The Epidemiologist’, which sounds like the melody from Wham’s ‘Last Christmas’ put through a European blender.
‘The Glassblower’ is a paean to a lost Whitechapel, Doherty bemoaning the “badly re-patched dreams, under-funded council schemes,” while the closing ‘Far From The Madding Crowd’ assesses the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on the entertainment industry. Impressive.
Read our full interview with Peter Doherty in the new issue of Hot Press, out now: