When Carl Barat first launched Dirty Pretty Things, there was a degree of goodwill.
After all, he seems like a decent lad, there was a feeling that he’d been unfairly cheated out of any credit in the Libertines, and he might as well do something while P-Doh was off being a celebrity/cellmate/carcrash and occasionally a Babyshamble, even if it was an undaventurous continuation of the Libs’ style.
But a second DPT album? What’s the rationale there? At first, it sounds as though the reason might be that Barat has an experimental side he’s yearning to express.
Opener “Buzzards and Crows”, with its fairground organs andwoozy tempo changes, could be a longlost Cardiacs track. From then on, however, Barat and co revert to type.
As the title suggests, ‘Romance at Short Notice’ has an ad hoc feeling to it. A dozen songs about dreams drowned in drink and the claustrophobia of British life are a soundtracked by conservative indie rock.
He does show the odd flash of wordsmithery (“A laurel wreath on the door to my heart” is a nice metaphor), and “Chinese Dogs” has a New York Dolls/Faces pubby raucousness. A bad album? Not remotely. But is this really what Carl Barat wants to do with his life?