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Babyshambles - Shotter's Nation

Reviewed by Helen on 21st October 2007

One cold, frosty morning, I found myself sitting on the top half of a double decker bus, weaving its way through rural England. Suddenly, the bus lurched to a halt: our way was impeded by a car accident.

It was a pretty horrid accident. Peering through the misty pains of dirtied glass, I could see the torn, twisted remnants of what must have been a pretty good car. You couldn't really tell though. To be honest, and this is being really honest, it was exciting. There was a sick, trembly sort of voyeurism to it. I'm ashamed to say I whipped out my mobile phone and took a quick photo of all the flashing lights and rescue teams.

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As we eventually went on our way, I looked back at the scene, to see the other side... and, lying on the pristine white blanket of snow, there lay a single mangled arm. Without an immediate owner to hand.

The first thing I thought of in that single, horrid, world-stopping moment was "Wow, that reminds me of Babyshambles." I kid you not.

Back to the album. Now, don't get me wrong, because this album has had a raft of excellent reviews, but it's really still quite awful. Like that disturbing car crash, there's a semblance of what probably used to be a well-crafted outfit in there, and it is a little exciting, but only for voyeuristic reasons. We all like to gawp at Doherty. None of us really want to be him, though.

This record is twisted, out of tune, sloppy and loose. Not as much so as is usual - because, if you look hard enough, you can glimpse the odd melody in there. However, it seems you can no longer blame class A drugs for the general crapness.

It hurts, in a way, because I always used to think that if you listened really hard to a Babyshambles record - you know, overcame the obvious language difficulties - you could hear some extremely insightful, intelligent, political gems in there. Their tunes were essentially well-crafted before they were nearly completely trashed in a drug-fuelled rampage. Before I heard Babyshambles, I always thought rock bands smashed their guitars after the gig, not before.

It's exhilarating, it's full-on, it's messy and wild, but the main reason any of us really pays attention is because we're waiting for something awful to happen. You might not want to admit it, but it's the truth. However, when it happens, I doubt any of us will like it.

I realise it's super-cool to like Babyshambles, and that giving them a poor review makes me middle-class, anti-revolutionary and cynical in the extreme, but I'm sorry: they're shit. Just shit. The three points I'm giving are for the fact that they are clever enough to have conned the British public into giving them so much cash for nothing and for so long.

Rating: 3/10
Website: babyshambles.net
Buy It Now: amazon.co.uk

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