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Grace/Wasteland first review

This review comes from Band Weblogs, a blog brought to you by singer/musician Jenny May, based in Oxford, England.

"I’ve been waiting in the wings for awhile now for Pete Doherty to release a solo album, and finally that day has come. For me, his best performances have been the times that I’ve seen him play on his own with just an acoustic guitar and his voice. However, with debut solo album Grace/Wasteland, there’s a mix of some of the acoustic Pete Doherty that is endearing and raw and also songs filled with the colorful musicianship of a full band.With all that’s been written in the media about Pete Doherty and his personal life, the highs along with the extreme lows, it would be easy to cast aside the idea that he might actually be a talented songwriter and musician. Grace/Wasteland is a great example of an artist at work - doing what he does best. This album excites me. For someone like Doherty who is young and in the public eye as much as he is, to release such an eclectic mix of songs so far away from the current chart releases is to be applauded. Grace/Wasteland should be listened to and digested like a fine wine.Each song is a treat - and listening to the album for the first time, I soon realized that I didn’t know what was going to come next. Maybe a record company’s nightmare, but a refreshing change for me.

The first single set for release off of Grace/Wasteland is “Last of the English Roses”. A very good choice. Immediately the the song is reminiscent of The Clash, the bass like Paul Simonon dub or something that Damon Albarn’s (Blur) The Good ,The Bad and The Queen along with Simonon might have come up with and yet it’s Albarn’s Blur bandmate Graham Coxon who contributes his excellent guitar skills throughout the album.Other musicians involved with Grace/Wasteland include Doherty’s Babyshambles bandmates Mick Whitnall on guitar, Drew McConnell on bass and Adam Ficek on drums. Scottish singer Dot Allison co-wrote the duet “Sheepskin Tearaway” and Peter “Wolfman” Wolfe is co-writer and guitarist on “Broken Love Song”. On “1939 Returning” Doherty’s voice is right up front in the mix, sultry even…nice acoustic guitars and strings. “A Little Death Around the Eyes” is so far away from the Pete Doherty that you think you know. The lyrics maybe, but the Leonard Cohen/Serge Gainsbourg feel is probably the most unexpected of the 12 track album. Radio friendly indie/pop number “Through The Looking Glass” is such a contrast to some of the other, darker tracks. There are some old-school surprises, like piano based “Sweet By and By”. Some might wonder, “why is Pete Doherty singing songs his grandmother would like?” and the easy guess would be that the songs that he’s producing reflect his taste in music. A wide range. The instrumentation on “New Love Grows On Trees” is tight - the upright bass is outstanding, another welcome change with this album. The lyrics so personal. B-Side “I Am The Rain” starts with just Pete and an acoustic guitar, then the chorus lifts with tambourine and harmony, and then back to just the guitar during the verse - gradually building as the song goes on. An excellent example of good dynamics normally captured in a live setting, which this sounds like. Hopefully this album will be recognized as one of the best releases of the year".

Well, I haven't listened to the album yet (no, I haven't) and I'm glad this reviewer appreciates it so much. Although I must disagree with her statement "best performances have been the times that I’ve seen him play on his own with just an acoustic guitar and his voice" (no, best performances were the times I've seen him play with his old band named "The Libertines",) I have huge hopes for this adventure.

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