Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Dirty Pretty Things - Waterloo to Anywhere

[This is a repost of my review of Dirty Pretty Things' Waterloo to Anywhere from June 10th, (Waterloo to Anywhere was released this past Tuesday). Rolling Stone gave it 3 1/2 stars in the last issue, but labeled it 'Must Hear' in the current one. The review I linked to is good, but it tends to focus more on what Dirty Pretty Things aren't; they aren't the Libertines and they aren't Pete Doherty. True enough, but they are a pretty kick ass band who made a very very good album]

Alright, for my final review of the day, I'm going to review a CD that hasn't come out in the US yet.

Dirty Pretty Things is Carl Barât's new band. Barât is the 'other' lead singer of the Libertines. Peter Doherty gets all the press, what with the dating Kate Moss, stealing cars, getting arrested and having a massive drug habit. But Barât's new band is pretty good. Waterloo to Anywhere is their debut CD and I must say, I love it. Where Doherty's Down in Albion was a kind of rambling mess, Waterloo to Anywhere is tight and focused.

Dirty Pretty Things - Waterloo to Anywhere

The album starts off with "Deadwood". The opening guitar riff kick ass and the song just bolts out of the gate. It is frantic and almost out of control; a perfect opening song. Fun stuff.

The second track is "Doctors and Dealers" and it is also pretty damn good. Again, frantic and fast. At one point the guitar line mimics the vocal and the effect is pretty cool. The main riff of that same guitar is really catchy. There is a steady back beat in the drums which just drives this song. Very nice.

The third track is far and away the stand out on the album. "Bang Bang, You're Dead" should be blaring from every radio station this summer and fall. It is perfect rock and roll if I've ever heard it. I have yet to play this song for someone and have them not like it. It starts off with some horns rumbling along and then just takes off. There is just rhythm guitar pulse that just drives the song; while the lead guitar just fuckin rocks it. The song rocks, it's vaguely pop-ish, it's catchy, it's distorted, it slows down, it speeds up, the drumming rocks, the guitars rock. Look, I don't know what else to say; if this song doesn't become a hit... I dunno. It's 3:30 of rock and roll perfection. Enjoy.

After "Bang Bang, You're Dead" the mood slows back down for a little bit with "Blood Thirsty Bastards". The song is good, catchy enough to sing along to, but nothing really special. I mean, I like it (okay, I like most of these songs), it isn't bad, there are better songs on this album. Like the next one.

For some reason "The Gentry Cove" reminds me of pirates. It isn't explicitly about pirates (unlike some of the songs of the Coral's self titled) and there are some sea sailing references, but nothing big. The guitar riff just paints this pirate 'yo ho ho' picture for me. I love it. "Gentry Cove" also has quite possibly my favorite moment on Waterloo to Anywhere; at about the 1:20 mark Barât starts singing "On and on and on and on and on and on we go/Traipsing over bridges/Over corpses down below" and the music becomes almost whimsical. At first I thought it went to 3/4 or 6/8 time, but it stays in 4, but it has some triplet drumming behind him. It's awesome. Have anyone ever heard a song before and it just made you smile? Ever had that feeling, where you hear something that takes you by total surprise, but is great?

(The last time I had a moment like this was on George Harrison's last album, Brainwashed. Well into the album Harrison throws "Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea" on there; it's basically dixieland or jug band track. Out of fucking nowhere. But it was so perfect.)

"Gin & Milk" follows with a much different feel than "Gentry Cove". This song is just a romp with lyrics like "I put gin in my milk/it kills all the germs" and "no one gives a fuck about the values I would die for/Not the faceless civil servants/The rudimentary crack whore/No one gives two fucks about the values I would kill for/Give them something to die for/Give me something to die for". Just a good song all around. The ending sounds like an explosion (or maybe implosion). Just sweet.

The second half of the album begins with "The Enemy". It starts off kind of 'nicely'; just voice and guitar (playing high) and then breaks into a jaunt of a song. Sounds happy; a toe tappin song, just fun. I really like this track; very strong effort.

"If You Love a Woman" is decidedly darker. It reminds me a lot (the beginning especially) of Soundtrack of Our Lives' "Sister Suround"off of Behind the Music. It's a good song, Barât sings about need "a lover who's kind". "If You Love a Woman" has a fuller sound than most of Dirty Pretty Thing's other songs, if that makes sense. More dense, not louder per se, just a bigger sound.

The next track, "You Fucking Love It" is a force of nature. Clocking in under two minutes, "You Fucking Love It" just assaults the senses. Can you understand what Barât is saying? I mean, I can get "you can never ever ever ever" and "you fucking love it". I think I catch "money" in there. Who cares. This song rocks. Kinda (and by kinda I mean very) punkish.

The next song, "Wondering" is another kind of filler track. It fits in with the whole album's 'feel', but when the album is done with, you really be talking about "Wondering" if that makes sense. Again, not a bad song.

"Last of the Small Town Playboys" starts off with gunfire like guitars. The song varies between slow jaunts and hard gun fire like guitars. Pretty badass if I say so myself (and I do). The bridge just blows right through; fuckin rocks.

The album's closer is "B.U.R.M.A." Do I know what that means? No. Could I probably look it up? Yes. Am I going to? No. Do I like the song? Yes, a lot actually. I think it's a good closer. Kind of sunny; more 'sunny-ish' really. The end of the song feels almost like a 50's rocker; I could imagine a show in an auditorium closing like that. Really fast, the drums booming, the piano wailing; just blazing through.

I was eagerly awaiting Babyshambles Down in Albion and I was mildly disapointed. Much like Beatles fans await new 'Beatles lite' songs on every post break up solo release, I wanted more Libertines. I didn't even know about Dirty Pretty Things until a few months ago and they pulled through where Babyshambles failed. I highly recommend Waterloo to Anywhere. If nothing else at least check out "Bang Bang, You're Dead", you won't be disapointed.

Track Highlights: "Bang Bang, You're Dead", "You Fucking Love It", "Gentry Cove", "Gin & Milk", "The Enemy" and "B.U.R.M.A". You can download "Bang Bang, You're Dead" and "You Fucking Love It" over at Rock 'n' Roll Star.

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