Album Review... Babyshambles – Sequel to the Prequel

It’s been quite the wait for Babyshambles fans, but the band’s long-awaited third album ‘Sequel To The Prequel’ is finally here. You’ve probably heard it by now, since you can find it streaming in a variety of places, not particularly surprising considering Peter Doherty’s penchant for releasing material for free. While the first single “Nothing Comes To Nothing” serves as a great example of what this album is all about, the rest of the album is even better.

This album finds Peter Doherty, Mick Whitnall and Drew McConnell truly working together as a band and coming into their own. While it may have been simple in the past to just write them off as “Pete Doherty’s band,” this album forces you to sit down and listen to what they have to say more so than anything they’ve released previously. I was particularly excited when I heard that bassist McConnell was writing songs as well because I loved all of his solo songs that he wrote while recovering from a car accident. (If you haven’t heard them yet, you really should because they’re great. Go listen.) 

‘Sequel’ catches your attention from the start with opening track “Fireman,” starting out like a punch to the gut and announcing that Babyshambles are back as if they never left at all. From there the album goes on to demonstrate that they’re not the same band as before in the best possible way. They’re not afraid to explore different genres further than before, such as reggae on “Dr. No” and “Fall From Grace” which was surprisingly quite country-feeling. “Dr. No” isn’t my favourite track on the album, but I really appreciate their willingness to tackle different things. There is nothing more boring than a band who writes the same songs over and over, so I’d rather hear something different that may not always work as opposed to yet another version of a hit song.

There’s so many great moments to be found on this album that it’s impossible to go into them all here. “Maybelline” has been kicking around for ages and I particularly enjoyed this slightly more polished arrangement of the song. Also, everyone’s said it and will continue to say it, but I have to say it again: “Farmer’s Daughter” showcases the strongest vocals from Doherty that we’ve heard yet. It’s a really beautiful, soaring kind of track that draws you in and is overall lovely. I’ll be curious to see how it translates live. 

One of the surprising standouts for me was the closing track “Minefield.” I never expect that much out of closing tracks, but this one just blew me away. Apparently they wrote this song while in a garden shed during a thunderstorm, which I can picture perfectly while listening.

This is the best Babyshambles album yet, hands down. It’s consistently good, living up to their full potential and feeling fully-finished. I really feel the strength of Stephen Street’s production adds a lot to this album in the best way possible. Regardless of how you feel about Peter Doherty, this is one album you shouldn’t overlook.

Babyshambles - Sequel To The Prequel
Out of 10: 9/10

Written by - Holly Spidle

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