Album Review: Carl Barat - Carl Barat

on Saturday, October 09, 2010
Words: Simon Opie

Carl Barât - 'Carl Barât' (Release: 4 October 2010)

Just as there is a seemingly endless supply of excellent Death Metal bands in Scandinavia, so is England the prodigious source of Britpop. I’m thinking there’s probably a doctoral thesis to be written on the relationship between geographical location and music, but I’m sure there will never be a Britpop song on the subject. Since the somewhat invariant staples of Britpop are "birds", "booze" and "shagging" involving the both of them. But no matter how far back down the thread connecting Carl Barât, The Libertines, Blur, Pulp and The Kinks your memory stretches, it is very comforting to be reminded that there will always be an England – in song, at least.

So to 'Carl Barât', the eponymous debut solo album of, yes, Carl Barât, most famous for his work with The Libertines.. I have to confess I really did like Dirty Pretty Things and was impressed with their set at Rock en Seine two years back which I enjoyed surrounded by birds and under the influence of booze. A great live performance that really outshone most of the headliners. Carl himself is a terrific showman and is up to his cheeky, no good tricks on the front cover of this new album. He looks a bit like Nicolas Cage, but I think of him more as a Michael Caine – perhaps underrated and probably not taken as seriously as he should be. An apt comparison as the video to lead single 'Run With The Boys' seems like it's missing Michael Caine.

'The Magus' gets the album off to a lively start, with an opening riff that sounds like 'Clint Eastwood' by Gorillaz. Next comes 'Je Regrette, Je Regrette' (following line: "I haven’t had you yet") which I was convinced was a cover version but it seems not, and then the album takes off on a journey around the variations on a Britpop theme. The trouble is after a while I believe that I am in fact listening to a James Bond film soundtrack. It’s pastiche taken too far to be taken seriously. Then I can’t escape the recurring image of Roger Moore arching his eyebrow.....and it’s over.

Sad really because I quite wanted to like the album, to be entertained, and at the same time slake my thirst for old Blighty. Unfortunately, 'Carl Barât' is a lazy effort and doesn’t therefore earn, or deserve, your full attention for long - just like the Nicolas Cage film, it's gone in sixty seconds.

STREAM: Carl Barât - Run With The Boys

Stream the album in the widget above. Barât also recently released his first book, relating to his musical (and otherwise) experiences.

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