It's fairly easy to write off drug-addled former Libertines/Babyshambles frontman Pete Doherty as a screw-up of Amy Winehouse proportions who is probably ruining all of his musical talent one high at a time. It's likewise just as easy to have low expectations when hearing that he's releasing his first solo album on March 24th. Not to be cliche, but he's publicly had a tough time staying sober longer than 20 minutes and expecting him to come up with an entire album's worth of half-way coherent material is a stretch.
I personally liked him more in the Libertines than in Babyshambles, but in both of those groups, he had help. To think of him going it alone is a bit scary, and unpredictable, and it's why I couldn't wait to hear the new record.
Somewhat surprisingly, the more I delve into his new album, Grace/Wasteland I'm realizing it's a lot better than what you might expect. My first thought before hitting play was, "ooh, this could be painful." Not Chris Cornell/Timbaland painful but painful nonetheless. Thankfully, that's not the case and there's a number of songs, from the folky, rain-drencehd "Arcady" to the ragtime era "Sweet By and By" that are well put together. If you click on this link, you can stream the whole album right now.
Check out the video to the song, "Last of the English Roses," which is the album's lead single below. It's definitely not what you'd expect, AND, the last few seconds feature a guy on guy make out scene. Is it just me, or does the guy on the bottom look just like Dave Mathews?