The Blinding is proof that for all the predictability of his blood-spraying, crack-imbibing behaviour, Pete Doherty can still shock. Because The Blinding contains two very vital ingredients that have been massively absent in the troubadour’s previous works- melody and rhythm. Down In Albion was a more or less shambolic affair, with Doherty apparently oblivious to any sense of meter, but at least it lowered expectations for Babyshambles' follow-up.
But now we’re reminded that Doherty is actually very good at carving out nice little tunes- nothing earth-moving, nothing profound, nothing life-changing. Just nice, tightly-produced little ditties that would be all the easier to enjoy if he didn’t insist on taking himself so bloody seriously. Even when he croaks the lyrics ‘I’m piping almost every night… I wish to God I’d been stabbed, oh’, on the Ska based I Wish, and you know he can vouch for every word, it’s so predictable that his self-loathing begins to bore. Every post-Libertines song that Doherty has ever made has me convinced that his lyrics could benefit from the purveyor getting a sense of humour. Instead of toying with the tabloid-perpetuated image that has been cultivated for him, he falls for his own hype hook, line and sinker. Still, The Blinding retains those aspects of Doherty’s music that it is impossible not to be seduced by- the throaty, spittle infused vocals, those brief moments of remorse and sensitivity. The closing minute of final track Sedative is a minute of melodic clarity that is enough, perhaps, to remind you of the genius that Doherty provided on For Lovers. On an otherwise rudimentary collection, The Blinding offers enough of a glimpse into the lead singer’s talents to suggest that one day he may make a record that eclipses anything he managed with Carl Barat or Wolfman respectively. But, sadly, The Blinding is not it.
Out now on Regal