Twenty years after the first album by The Libertines and almost ten years after the last by Babyshambles, their (co-)frontman Peter Doherty released a new record that bears little resemblance to the rickety aggressive guitar rock of yesteryear. It is as if the English (song-)writer/musician has been captured by the sensitive side of Elvis Costello on compositions by Scott Walker. Obviously that’s not the case, these will be the influences of getting older and wiser, living in France, being clean and married, and especially working with French composer/musician/producer Frédéric Lo. The result of their collaboration, the twelve songs on The Fantasy Life Of Poetry & Crime, is melancholic, heartfelt and poetic. This is beautiful understated baroque pop with quality orchestration, fascinating for over 36 minutes. The strong lyrics and the vocals that are sometimes slightly out of tune remain, but otherwise this is very far away from Doherty’s illustrious past. And yet again it’s very good.
The Fantasy Life Of Poetry & Crime is out now digitally, on CD, cassette and vinyl LP through Strap Originals.