Peter Doherty - Hamburg Demonstrations album review

A quietly moving confessional

Peter Doherty Hamburg Demonstrations album cover

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Last year’s Libertines album Anthems For Doomed Youth behind him, Doherty goes it alone again with a collection recorded during a six-month stay in Germany. Consequently, there are fewer rough-hewn roguish anthems and a greater focus on Pete the introspective troubadour.

As the title suggests, these 11 tracks aren’t exactly over-produced, the no-frills atmosphere most evident on the Graham Greene-referencing Kolly Kibber (‘They broke the mould when they made you/Probably the wisest thing to do’) and the Kinks-like drawl of Spy In The House Of Love. The skeletal arrangements allow the controlled frailty of Doherty’s voice to pack a stronger emotional punch.

The jewel in the confessional crown is actually the oldest song. Flags From The Old Regime was written after the death of his friend Amy Winehouse five years ago, but its observations on fame and addiction (‘You’re stuck behind the door/Chewing off your jaw’) could equally apply to Doherty himself.

Terry Staunton was a senior editor at NME for ten years before joined the founding editorial team of Uncut. Now freelance, specialising in music, film and television, his work has appeared in Classic Rock, The Times, Vox, Jack, Record Collector, Creem, The Village Voice, Hot Press, Sour Mash, Get Rhythm, Uncut DVD, When Saturday Comes, DVD World, Radio Times and on the website Music365.