Babyshambles : Fuck Forever

‘Pete’s clean’ rumours dashed by second ’Shambles single

Jesus. What a pathetic mess. No, wait, come back. We’re not kicking little Pete while he’s down – it’s a compliment. There’s not a second of the five tracks here that isn’t messed up, ramshackle, clattering all over the place and utterly wasted. And who can fail to find pathos in it, knowing the hell that the man who wrought it was going through during its creation? So yeah, a pathetic mess, but a great, fascinating, miraculous pathetic mess. That said, the title track is actually a plain old pathetic mess, a Libertines offcut with no sense of direction. But the rest of it… ‘Blackboy Lane’ is superb, lacerating and passionate, though listening to Doherty sing, “Do you think you can help?/Can you make me a call?” is a particularly uncomfortable experience. ‘Monkey Casino’ is even more raw and pummelling, Pete rasping and mumbling, sounding like he recorded the vocal right in the middle of agonising withdrawal pangs, guitar strings employed like cheesewires. ‘East Of Eden’ is just stupefying, one of the most hard-to-sit-through four minutes of inebriated skag-ska ever committed to acetate. And then you’ve got the band’s eponymous theme song, a bedsit spaghetti western tune strafed with tears. God, what a mess. A pathetic, and essential, mess.