“Looking, searching, fighting,” opens Doherty’s latest. “I’m hunting for where joy goes.”
New title ‘Paradise is Under Your Nose’ takes a little more agency in its life. It still saunters along bed-headed, but has a newfound sense of purpose about it, a purpose that’s faded in and out of view over the last 17 years.
This can only be good. The song manages to retain that creative freedom that found its way into Grace/Wastelands a decade ago, but avoids getting lost in the tangle of existence. With Jack Jones (Trampolene) supporting, lyrics are overlaid onto a pretty little guitar tune and ever-important secondary vocals. It doesn’t feel as lonely as it could, instead drawing on the rest of the group to lend shape and strength from time to time. This is fine.
Pete’s approach to making music is different to the ‘tidy’ formatting of The Libertines – or, to a lesser extent, Babyshambles. It’s much harder to pin down structural roots without diving into the mortal themes of the English romantics. Doherty’s poetics are the real defining strength of the song, but much is also owed to his so-called Puta Madres, steering the song away from fixation.
It will be interesting to see where a song like this can go, the shape of a larger project, perhaps an album or such. A relatively recent addition to Doherty’s impressive CV, the group understandably has a little way to go yet, but it’s well on track.
Words by James Reynolds