3D Great Rock Bible
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Carl Barat

+ {Dirty Pretty Things}

With old mucker Pete Doherty and his BABYSHAMBLES in creative freefall, it was left to CARL BARAT (born 6 June 1978, Basingstone, Hampshire) to carry on the spirit of The LIBERTINES via his subsequent indie-rock ensemble DIRTY PRETTY THINGS. Choosing to enlist former LIBERTINES: Gary Powell (drums) and American-born left-over Lib, Anthony Rossomando (guitar), plus bassist Didz Hammond (from COOPER TEMPLE CLAUSE), the gutsy quartet played their inaugural gig in Paris, France, toward the fall of 2005.
Signed to the resurgent Vertigo imprint, DPT duly delivered their almost controversy-free single, `Bang Bang, You’re Dead’, one of several raucous and rousing dirges on parent Top 3 album, WATERLOO TO ANYWHERE (2006) {*7}. Barat had played good cop to Doherty’s bad cop for several years, and the vocalist/guitarist was only too happy to unleash his own dirty demons without a glazed-eyed cheeky monkey on his shoulder. Drawing a line through The KINKS, The CLASH, and of course, The STROKES (and did one forget, The LIBERTINES), Barat and Co would either crash or burn on the likes of derivative tunes, `Deadwood’ and `Wondering’ (both hits), but luckily they could do no wrong in the eyes of indie addicts not willing to expand their musical horizons beyond The LIBERTINES, or the incumbent ARCTIC MONKEYS.
Putting rumours of a Doherty-Barat reunion aside, DPT album number two, ROMANCE AT SHORT NOTICE (2008) {*5}, went down like a lead balloon both critically and commercially (Top 40). Tracing influences from the 60s, 70s and 80s (think HERMAN’S HERMITS to The SMITHS), even fans might’ve found it hard to cherry-pick the best bits. Lonesome minor hit, `Tired Of England’, was short on a hook-line, and as for `Buzzards & Crows’ and `Hippy’s Son’, it was surely a case of: stop-me-if-you’ve-heard-this-one-before.
In 2010, after playing a tribute show for promoter Johnny Sedassy at London’s Rhythm Factory, the previous year (with his old chums), it was no shock when The LIBERTINES reunited – but it was short-lived. When CB released his grandiose but underwhelming eponymous solo set, CARL BARAT (2010) {*4}, it was almost swept under the carpet by the media, who, only several years ago, had worshipped the ground he walked upon. It was duly squeezed out of the Top 50, Carl’s JACQUES BREL-meets-DIVINE COMEDY (via Kurt Weill) camp cabaret too much for unaffiliated unwilling to buy into his moribund musical manifesto. As charming as `Carve My Name’, `Run With The Boys’ and `Je Regrette Je Regrette’ were, it was indeed a shame that the former LIBERTINES man tread on the toes of self-indulgence. Still, his ambition to challenge and stir up the music world had to be commended.
Keeping The LIBERTINES flag flying high, the main man returned with CARL BARAT AND THE JACKALS, a band of unknowns – guitarist Billy Tessio, bassist Adam Claxton and drummer Jay Bone – found by placing an ad on Facebook. Fuelling up memories of his first band and his eternal idols The CLASH, Cooking Vinyl lent support to his fourth post-Libs set LET IT REIGN (2015) {*6}. Seemingly always cursed by being in the shadow of Pete D (preferring to live life away from the “paps”), the Top 50 breaker had its moments in `Glory Days’, `Victory Gin’, `Summer In The Trenches’ and `March Of The Idle’.
© MCS Aug2013-Feb2015

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