Within minutes of hearing Waterloo to Anywhere [Interscope Records] spin in your CD player (or wherever you’re playing it these days), the twangy guitars and up front vocals trigger memories. Is this is something you’ve heard on the radio? …maybe something you remember from a movie? Actually, it’s the oddly familiar but totally original sound of Dirty Pretty Things. You’ll recognize the punching chords and rowdy racket that is distinctly English; a mix of badass and wise guy. Want a picture? You get the idea pretty fast as the music hits you: cigarettes, leather clad rockers, a sketchy stone alley somewhere in England. Definitely, these been-around-the-block boys won’t let you down. Well, at least frontman Carl Barat has seen this scene before, as a former key member of the Libertines, a band whose potential was drowned by the drug use and jailbreaks of leader Peter Doherty.
Doherty soon became the recurring ringleader in a tabloid circus, throwing the Libertines into turmoil. However, Barat is springing back from the mess and the baggage, which no doubt added some of the edge so prevalent in the writing of Waterloo to Anywhere.
The first track, “Deadwood,” hits the ground running. One trend that kicks off at the very beginning is that Dirty Pretty Things use the real instruments and real words that put you right in the backdrop of dirty London rock. They sound a bit like a mesh of the Strokes, but with more urgency, and the Clash, but with more tangible emotion. Especially when you move on to the song “Gin and Milk,” a catchy hardcore ditty expressing the raw emotions at the very essence of rock and roll.
Throughout the album, the drums and guitar set a nice pace and you can always rely on an ass-kicking or at least head-bobbing chorus. “The Enemy” is a good example of how the band, at key points during a song, isolates the vocals or the guitar so you can hear only the specifics.
Then, a solo is suddenly supported by cacophony, that delicious disorder, and refuses to leave your head. The drums supply a steady heartbeat, picking up to steer the song and singer for a bit and finally bringing the song to a clashing close.
“Blood Thirsty Bastards” is another beautiful ruckus. The song gains momentum as the feeling goes up and strikes every listener with just enough rage and sadness to make this a true anthem. It’s just enough to make you sing along.
Catchy, raw, and unpolished only scratch the surface of what makes “You Fucking Love It” one of a kind. The intro starts it off right with punctuating chords and a new, mixed up spin on classic composition. The vocals are fast and all over the place, giving it a young, punky feel.
As for “Small Town Playboys,” the addictive bass line makes this a favorite right away. You immediately hear the instruments clicking into action, no electronic overlay or computerized additions to be found here.
All in all Dirty Pretty Things is a jangling fusion of the classic English sound and modern elements laced with masterful lyrics and a memorable melody. It makes for a ragged lullaby and honest music. Dirty Pretty Things has a sound that’s tantalizingly familiar and fun to listen to. All parts of the album are up-front and in-your-face, but in an honest and satisfying way. Just admit it already...you fucking love it.