Peter Doherty, Hamburg Demonstrations

Former co-frontman of the Libertines Peter Doherty has released his second solo release Hamburg Demonstrations. 

By Jane Howkins.

   Peter Doherty recently released Hamburg Demonstrations, which is his second solo release after 2009’s Grace/Wastelands. Overall it’s a fairly good album, showing just how far Peter has come since the troubled times of his recent past.

First things first – if you’re expecting a record full of indie bangers and guitar riffage then you’re in the wrong place. There’s nothing really remotely like that here, with most of the songs being quiet, sparse tunes, providing a sense of intimacy to the album. That might put people off but stick with it as it’s fairly good, and there are some interesting melodies and musical quirks at play here.

Particular favourites include a tribute to Amy Winehouse called Flags Of The Old Regime, and Hell To Pay At The Gates Of Heaven, which for some reason sounds like it could be an undiscovered song by The Clash. That might sound mad but listen to it and then give Wrong Em Boyo by The Clash a listen – the Doherty song sounds like what the beginning of that song would sound like if it had been fleshed out more, and it sounds good. There’s also a slight similarity with Doherty’s voice, which is also in good form.

There are a few filler songs on the record (we’re looking squarely at you, Oily Boker) but for the most part it’s rather fun. There are two versions of lead single I Don’t Love Anyone (But You’re Not Just Anyone), featuring a nice little riff on the American civil war tune When Johnny Comes Marching Home Again, with the original version being our preferred one.

As previously stated, Hamburg Demonstrations is fairly sparse in terms of instrumentation, lending itself to a more intimate feel. This is great for the most part and has obviously been done on purpose, but sometimes it feels a little unfinished. The production sounds a little rushed and whilst we’re assuming it’s meant to sound like this to capture more of a raw vibe, it does occasionally make you wonder what this could have been like with a bit more of a push. If you can get past that though (and you should be able to), then this is a fairly good record, and one worth giving the time of day to.