Babyshambles

The Blinding EP (Capitol)

This diverting five-song EP inaugurates ex-Libertine Pete Doherty's new contract with the only American label brave enough to sign a world-renowned junkie hellbent on seeing how far the English judicial system can be pushed before it throws him in the clink. (Recently, Doherty was fined 770 pounds and ordered not to drive for four months as a result of getting caught with crack and heroin in his car.) Surprisingly, Doherty actually pulls off a pretty good impression of a fully functioning human here, something that couldn't quite be said of Babyshambles' 2005 debut, Down in Albion, on which Doherty pushed his sloppy neo-garage blare to strung-out extremes. "Love You But You're Green" is a lovely reggae-soul ballad that opens with the no-shit announcement that Mr. Kate Moss "was a troubled tee-eee-een." "I Wish" ups the tempo with tidy ska guitars. "Beg, Steal or Borrow" has a cute harmonica solo. Ultimately, The Blinding gets a little bleary during closer "Sedative" (whose title you can't say didn't warn you), but most of this will soon convince some powdered wig of Doherty's unique contribution to society. Mikael Wood

 
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