From the slightly murky backwaters of Pete Doherty’s mind comes Babyshambles’ trickier-than-ever second album. A lot has happened to the band since we left them ‘Down In Albion’, but the press release promises a more accomplished and varied record, so I’m all ears….

Opening track “Carry On Up The Morning” is surprisingly normal and coherent, with the solid message in the chorus ‘It’s too easy getting out of my head’. This is a clear statement of intent; an ‘up-yours’ to the press who hound Doherty. Now he’s addressed the one thing that they have on him, there’s no hidden agenda.

As we stagger through the album, we reach “Delivery”, the start of which sounds like it’s been lifted out of the 60’s. This lasts about 30 seconds, before it morphs into 00’s indie for the return-to-form chorus. Next up, “You Talk” is typical Babyshambles: rambling, slightly shambolic and annoyingly catchy.

The first of several strangely titled tracks, “UnBiloTitled” starts meditatively, and somehow leaks into the wallpaper, but then “Side Of The Road” starts, and its unashamedly half jazz, half punk mix (that I never would have thought would work) makes me stop and listen intently…

“Crumb Begging Baghead” has some more of that 60’s influence, with a small portion of 90’s Madchester Indie on the side. “French Dog Blues”, which has spawned its own Babyshambles bootleg website, sounds a bit like Morrissey and The Byrds covering a lost Dylan track.

“There She Goes” is a return to the jazz we fell upon earlier in the record. The image comes to mind of Doherty in a Parisian café, smoking a Gauloise, performing this track accompanied by an accordion and a shabby guitar. Singing in French. Well, it’d probably make about as much sense.

So, is this the album to bring back Pete Doherty’s musical credibility? Possibly. The tracks feel more like they’ve been crafted, rather than just winged in a hazy studio session. There are definite messages if you listen closely, and the diversity is impressive. If nothing else, the next single will have to be completely different to “You Talk”, as there are none others like it on “Shotter’s Nation”. I must say, as a fan of the first album, I am pleasantly impressed by this. Think I’ll go and listen to it a few more times now and play ‘spot the nuances’.

Simon Middleyard