DIRTY PRETTY THINGS: Waterloo to Anywhere: CD

Nov 21, 2006

My best friend was telling me about this relationship book she was reading. Apparently, different people “perceive love” in different ways: some perceive love through physical affection—PDAs and that sort of thing; some through gift-giving (well, gift-receiving); and some through good communication. We decided I fell into this last group. And since I perceive love verbally, naturally it explains why I love this record so goddamn much. Every song has some astonishing little lyrical moment (not just phrases here and there but entire verses) that leaves a verbally inclined listener in rock’n’roll heaven and absolutely feeling the love. Carl Barât, the man behind the pen and one of two guitars, was one of the two front men of The Libertines. That band re-made the musical landscape in the U.K. and then promptly self-immolated, mostly because of Pete Doherty’s colossal drug addiction. In the years since, Doherty has proved to be a determined drug addict, repeatedly flouting the law and rehab, and a popular subject for the scandal-hungry British tabloids. His band produced a great shambling mess of a record last year and Barât meanwhile formed DPTs with Gary Powell, also an ex-Libertine. They and their two cohorts have produced a glorious crop of fast, guitar-driven, irresistibly catchy, punkish melodies wrapped around a dark and layered lyrical core. Lyrics, which—Barât being a proper Brit—are oh so terribly clever. Songs that feel good right away but then give you something to think about on repeated listening (including the suspicion that Barât was the necessary piece that made the brilliance of The Libertines whole.). Some songs deal with his Libertines past (“Deadwood”; “Bang Bang You’re Dead”; “Blood Thirsty Bastards”), which obviously makes for fascinating between-the-lines listening for anybody who is a fan of that band. Others are introspective glimpses of a fertile mind at unrest (“The Enemy”; “Gin and Milk”) and still others are amazing chunks of weirdness: the pleading, near hysterical vocals on “If You Love a Woman,” or the teenage druggie prostitute protagonist of “You Fucking Love It.” (A mini show review digression: DPTs played in L.A. in August and I can’t remember a punk rock moment as satisfying as shrieking “You Fucking Love It,” loud and fast, sandwiched amongst similarly delirious people, while Barât jumps around madly on stage—despite an arm in a sling from a broken collar bone—and who, I might add, looks spectacularly hot in his tight little English rocker-boy pants.). But in case you’re not verbally inclined, you should listen to this collection of songs simply because they rock. Really, really hard. Then pass it on to your “perceives love through receiving gifts” friend and spread the love. –Sara

 –staff (Mercury, UK)