Freeing himself from The Libertines and Dirty Pretty Things, Carl Barât has just released his self titled debut solo effort and it’s not half bad. Imagine The Jam, Oasis and the Gorillaz shoved in a blender and the sound that comes out is something akin to what we have here.
The Magus is a refreshingly quirky and original track, deviating away from the more guitar led sounds associated with Carl’s previous work. Think more heavy marching bass and sinister tinkling on the piano combined with lyrics like ‘cause man can be animals/savages and cannibals’. It’s a bit like the sound you’d expect if Sweeney Todd was let loose in a recording studio.
Je Regrette, Je Regrette by contrast is startlingly cheery. It’s a poppy, summery tune with a catchy, light hearted guitar riff and Carl’s vocals accompanied by an angelic harmony. Carve My Name would nestle in quite nicely in a Western, eery, melodic violin, smooth vocals and lazy guitar.
Run With The Boys wouldn’t look out of place amongst Paul Weller’s back catalogue, an upbeat, mod inspired number. The Fall returns to the sound we first experience in The Magus, a sinister, mournful track, wailing violins and stomping bass abound. It’s a style that suits Carl well, fingers crossed there’s more such tunes in future.
What Have I Done is a minimalist, relaxed track carried by Carl’s vocals. It’s definitely one of the mellower moments on the album, echoing harmonies giving it a haunting, whimsical quality. Shadows Fall continues in this melancholy, chilled out vein, Carl mumbling the lyrics alongside sombre trumpet calls. Album closer Ode To A Girl is a beautiful piano led number, with synthesised bass lurking in the background and melodic guitar amidst Carl’s downbeat vocals. It’s a sincere and touching way to close this first time solo attempt.
Considering Carl’s prior work it perhaps shouldn’t be that surprising he’s produced an album this good. It’s an album that really doesn’t have a boring moment, the sounds here are so diverse from each other. Those expecting more Dirty Pretty Things and Libertine-esque sounds will be sorely disappointed, this is Carl taking his music to a more personal level and it’s all the better for it.