Dirty Pretty Things split: a look back at Carl Barat’s second band

NME.COM takes a look back at the group's short-lived career

Earlier today NME.COM exclusively announced that Dirty Pretty Things have split up.

Rising from the ashes of The Libertines in London, the four-piece formed in September 2005.

Carl Barat, along with former Libertines drummer Gary Powell and Pete Doherty‘s former replacement guitarist Anthony Rossomando, “poached” Didz Hammond (bass) from The Cooper Temple Clause to complete the line-up.


Under the stweardship of manager Alan McGee, the band signed to Vertigo Records – an imprint of Universal label Mercury – and began to assemble the songs that would eventually feature on their 2006 debut album, ‘Waterloo To Anywhere’.

They made their live debut with a series of low-key European gigs in October 2005, shortly before announcing a UK tour, which sold out almost immediately.

With Pete Doherty‘s Babyshambles already achieving critical and commercial success, anticipation about what Barat would do next saw the band’s debut single, ‘Bang Bang You’re Dead’, shoot straight to Number Five in the UK charts. It would be their highest entry for a single.

NME called the song a “terrific, spiky guitar insta-classic”, adding that Dirty Pretty Things’ comeback had been “planned to perfection”.

The band released ‘Waterloo To Anywhere’ to generally positive reviews in May 2006. Not sounding dissimilar to the songs Barat wrote during his time in The Libertines, it went in at Number Three in the UK charts.

Two further singles from the album were released: ‘Deadwood’ (which reached Number 20) and ‘Wondering’ (34).


The band toured the album around the world, despite Barat having to be replaced on guitar-duties for a North American and European tour by The Paddingtons’ Josh Hubbard after he broke his collarbone falling off a motorbike.

The band, playing with their original line-up, also opened for Muse at one of their London Wembley Stadium gigs in June 2007.

Throughout their three-year existence, Dirty Pretty Things supported a number of charities, including Make Roads Safe and Love Music Hate Racism.

One of their first new songs to be officially released since ‘Waterloo To Anywhere’ appeared on a Love Music Hate Racism CD given away free with copies of NME in October 2007.

The song, ‘9 Lives’, showed a slight change of direction for the band, and they were to embrace change even further during the recording of second album ‘Romance At Short Notice’.

Although the band could never really escape the shadow of The Libertines, the album gamely incorporated samples and featured more intricate tempos, along with songs penned and sung by Rossomando and Hammond.

Recording of the album was apparently fraught, with the band relocating to Santa Monica with producer Nick Leman.

Released on June 30, 2008, ‘Romance At Short Notice’ reached Number 35 in the UK album chart.

Lead single ‘Tired Of England’ charted at Number 54. The band continued to tour, playing well-received mid-afternoon Main Stage sets – which included a Nirvana cover – at this year’s Reading And Leeds Festivals.

However throughout their career, Dirty Pretty Things have been dogged by the possibility of The Libertines‘ reunion which, despite Barat continual denials, have lead some to speculate that the singer was on the verge of restarting his old band.

Pete Doherty and Carl Barat put aside their differences to reunite onstage last year at Hackney Empire, while the pair also recently performed together at Camden’s Prince Of Wales pub earlier this month, playing several Libertines classics.

The members of Dirty Pretty Things plan to continue musical projects separately, though were clear in stating that a Libertines reunion was not the motive behind their split.

Meanwhile, you can view a selection of Dirty Pretty Things images in our Carl Barat photo gallery.