When your non-music-related shenanigans have paved the way for you as a British musician in the United States, you're either doing something very right or very wrong. Anyone brushing past pop culture will recognize Pete Doherty as one such example. The erstwhile fiancé of Kate Moss first rose to fame across the pond as half of the core duo behind the Libertines. After that band booted him and subsequently broke up, Doherty has become a latter-day poster child for sex, drugs, and rock and roll.
But his current group, Babyshambles, has been threatening to put out music to eclipse anything from the Libertines. This second full-length album, the followup to the band's 2005 debut, Down in Albion, captures Doherty as an engaging vocalist and storytelling lyricist, despite its liberal borrowing from the history of British music.
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Although most of Shotter's Nation blends into one big lump of Brit-style pubby, punky rock, there are standout moments, such as the alcohol-soaked anthem of regret, "Delivery." In contrast comes the moody introspection of "Unstookietitled," as well as the big-band-inflected thrumming bass and shuffling percussion of "There She Goes." Doherty's misadventures have provided good fodder for the lyrics on Shotter's Nation, making for salacious, humorous, yet brutally honest tales. This begs the question: How good would the next disc be without the same experiences to draw from?