Through the fog of controversy surrounding Pete Doherty, it’s easy to forget what a fantastic musician he is. HAMBURG DEMONSTRATIONS is a collection of blissful folk songs with lyrics that reaffirm Pete’s position as one of this generations finest poets. Pete’s solo work is miles from the chaotic rock that brought him fame in The Libertines. But what it’s definitely not is less interesting than The Libertines were.
Kudos to producer Johann Scheerer for keeping the rough-edged charm in the songs that Pete suits so perfectly. Stunning fingerpicked guitar parts, almost melancholy at times, accompany the distinctive vocals elegantly. This is particularly evident on the bitter sweet tribute to Amy Winehouse, ‘Flags from The Old Regime’. A slightly heavier sound comes from ‘Birdcage’, but the songs never become offensive or intrusive.
As expected, the lyrics are flawless throughout the record. ‘Hell to Pay at the Gates of Heaven’ has the phenomenal lyric, “Come on boys choose your weapon, J-45 or AK-47?” – Gibson J-45 was John Lennon’s acoustic guitar of choice. ‘I Don’t Love Anyone (But You’re Not Just Anyone)’ is the two-part highlight of the album which demonstrates Pete’s characteristic love lyrics in fine form. In the Amy Winehouse tribute Pete leaves himself exposed as he sings, “Oh me, Amy, you won’t be coming down tonight”, which will make your hairs stand on end.
Pete’s voice, although not technically brilliant and strained at times, sits well with the music. HAMBURG DEMONSTRATIONS is alluring because of the honesty it portrays. There’s very little in the way of extra effects that would to distract you from the beauty of the songs. Think what you like about Pete, but there’s no denying his talent when you take the time to listen to his latest offering.
Hamburg Demonstrations will be released on 2nd December.