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[Folkish]

Peter Doherty

Grace/Wastelands

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Peter Doherty - Grace/Wastelands

Slapping an “R” on the end of one’s name does not an instantly more mature artist make. Delivering a solo debut full of intriguing mostly acoustic folk, occasionally/tentatively electric rambles, however, comes close to creating much the same intended effect.

The former Libertines vocalist and rhythm guitarist, current frontman of Babyshambles and ongoing tabloid newsmaker recruits Blur guitarist Graham Coxon to handle finger-picking duties, freeing himself to concentrate on re-creating innumerable small moments of elegantly wasted insight with his languid, loping cadence. But it’s Blur’s Damon Albarn who seems to have inspired the album’s true curveball, a Gorillaz-inspired profile of a lass finding her place in the history-drenched modern world. Elsewhere, songs like “1939 Returning,” “A Little Death Around the Eyes” and the biblical narrative “Salome” feature a smattering of strings, while duet “Sheepskin Tearaway” and the improbably Randy Newman-invoking “Sweet By and By” make use of jazzy piano. But each possesses more than a little otherworldly wistfulness; impressive how Doherty evokes an array of long-gone times and far-flung lands with such a purposefully limited arsenal.

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Peter Doherty
Three and a half stars
Beyond the Weekly
Peter Doherty on MySpace

It’s no real surprise that the poet, painter, model and celebrated experimenter in the opioid arts would have such eclectic tastes. But that his current project would be so personal and understated, well, that’s Doherty’s latest out-and-out shocker.

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Julie Seabaugh

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