Peter Doherty and Frédéric Lo – The Fantasy Life of Poetry & Crime album review
In times gone by, the chaotic nomad who was glued to British tabloids filled the fable with Pierre Doherty with tales of tumultuous obscurations. Inconsiderate compatriots, colleagues and comrades judged harshly any appreciation of the former The Libertines and Babyshambles leader.
A figure so distorted by cruel journalists and the tasteless temptations of evaporation that the infamous begotten son of the nation had to finally flee across the English Channel to the pastures of France. Awareness of his detrimental inclinations to substance abuse is openly alluded to in “You Can’t Keep it From Me Forever”; because he knowsEvery turn of the book. Still, it’s an album that transcends Doherty’s past intentions, his attempts at mind-warping, but there’s beauty there, because “ships that are sunk may still contain treasures’ (‘The Epidemiologist’). It is not a cry for help, nor an ode to the lost friendships that glorified the delirium of the Libertines.
Doherty is able to use his capacity for poetic observation, both personal and societal, to draw a succinct picture of the present. A sensitive if not sometimes cliché reflection of his experience in these difficult times. For having been absolutely swallowed up for decades in the music industry, it hasn’t stopped performing. A man who tempted and bettered most of his contemporaries, he deserves the desirable status of the bard who achieves absolution by performance. Thus, the confinements prevented him from singing his song ”among the frenzied crowd. Those in need of gigs will find an endearing empathy in the lyrics.
Chez Frederic Lo the accompaniment gracefully facilitates the process. Two kindred souls flow. Doherty has always worked at his peak with help and this is no exception to the norm. He finds harmony in Lo’s orchestral imaginations. They gently mix indie-pop sounds with Peter’s poetry. One of the most contextual songs on the album, ‘The Glassblower‘, highlights Doherty’s talents as an inspector. Simple words of retrospect, “a rent increase” and “fashions come and go” softly sung reflect immediate issues and fun, insightful observation. For many, isolation is married to introspection, and our momentary interactions have been veiled by masked mandates. For some though, including Doherty, even with the disappearance of physical masks, they admit: “Yes, I wear a mask.”
Such a memory of loneliness from those who came before us is a common feeling, and it’s no different for Doherty. He shows his humanity and genuine heart in his ballad to a deceased friend, Alan Wass in ‘Abe Wassenstein’, it feels like a coming of age for Doherty and a shift from boyish charm to the path of wisdom that comes with passing years.
Such a quintessentially English man, yet an album that transcends the current sound of modern British music. Doherty has clearly aged from his youthful rock rebellion and settled for a slower form of serene existence which is evidently reflected throughout. Such an album will grace its listeners with the same thoughtful peace and will be perfect as the season has turned into spring, let Doherty and Lo accompany your changes.
You can order The fantastic life of poetry and crime here in its physical format or listen to it on Spotify.