Album: Peter Doherty, Grace/Wastelands (Parlophone)

Doherty gets serious... and pickpockets his heroes

An artist reverting to their full birth name is a time-honoured declaration that they want to be taken seriously.

So, Pete's got his R back in time for his first solo album to tell us that when he isn't trashing stately homes, he's a figure of great musical importance. As littered with cultural references as is his living room with empty cans (from Wilde's Salome to Isadora Duncan and the Third Reich), Grace/Wastelands is ultimately a lazy exercise in showing off his grounding in high culture. Everything is borrowed, from the Kinks-inspired "I Am the Rain" to the Bowie-esque "Broken Love Song". Producer Stephen Street, the go-to guy for English romanticism, lends it a grandeur it seldom deserves, although with the jazzy finger picking of "A Little Death Around the Eyes", the song actually rises to the occasion. The biggest surprise is the glimmering hint that Pete(r) Doherty still has greatness within him. If he spent more than a few snatched minutes working on his art in between orgies of hedonism, we might see it. You can bet your life Oscar did.

Pick of the Album: 'A Little Death Around the Eyes'

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