Peter Doherty, Frédéric Lo – The Fantastic Life of Poetry and Crime | Comments
The creative collaboration between lyricist and songwriter Pierre Doherty and French composer and producer Frederic Lo is inspired.
Well-defined with clarity throughout, Doherty describes the album project as a desire “to capture something of the spirit of Étretat in its quieter moments during lockdown”. This is where the French novelist Maurice Leblanc lived, and where he wrote his Arsène Lupin novels.
The assignment of creative responsibility is that Lo is composing the music and Doherty is writing the poetry, and that means their artistic partnership can flourish. The idea of capturing true creativity often seems idealistic, even unrealistic, but this record is a fitting candidate in the category.
Recorded between Paris and Normandy, the album also signifies a return to basics, the result of daily writing sessions over two months. It was a place where the combination of a guitar, typewriter, wine and laughter played a part. Rich in melodies, based on principles of natural composition and improvisation, the songs are vibrant and fulfilling.
With dark, textured overtones, the thrilling track ‘The Ballad Of..’ is a fascinating insight into a curious character. With vague echoes of Scott Walker as much as Jacques Brel, he connects elements of classical music with folk, and creates a beautiful 60s-style song in the process.
The more playful and upbeat “You Can’t Keep It From Me Forever” reconnects Doherty with his love of the Smiths and Suede. But even though it represents a burning desire for the things that are close to his heart, it also plays with the idea of being strong enough to resist it.
The timeliness of “Far From The Madding Crowd” and “Yes I Wear A Mask” is fascinating, reminiscent of the dark times many still live in, but the songs can also be seen in a larger, more universal context.
“Monster” offers drama of a more interior nature. For a short track, there is a lot of complexity. Compact and concise, it can tackle the obsessive and dark nature of addiction, but it also has a sense of light and hope. Drawing inspiration from all over Europe, its atmosphere is lucid and its ambiance dreamy and immersive.
The combination of having finely crafted compositions and a relatable, poetic voice is effective.
Is this the true artistic voice of Peter Doherty? This recording makes you think about the matter more than before. There’s no doubt that the style and execution is a valid and fascinating insight, and it represents, at least, one of its true voices.
Words: Susan Hansen
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