Babyshambles are an indie-rock band hailing from London, England. The band was formed by frontman Peter Doherty as a side project, after he was banned from playing with his previous group, the Libertines, due to substance abuse.
The line-up of Babyshambles has frequently changed, but currently it is made up of Doherty on lead vocals/guitar, Mik Whitnall on lead guitar, Drew McConnell taking bass duties and Adam Ficek on drums. Unfortunately, due to Doherty’s drug-related antics, arrests, and high-profile relationships with supermodel Kate Moss, the band have received more attention from the British tabloid press than for their music.
Shotter’s Nation is Babyshambles’ second album, but their first major-label release. It is comprised of songs that were circulated online for free, collectively known as the Stookie + Jim Bumfest demos.
The demos and other new tracks have been polished up and made into a functional, compact and precise record by producer Stephen Street, who has previously worked with the likes of Blur and the Smiths. It is not in the same league as its predecessor, Down In Albion — a characteristic masterpiece that oozed chaotic charm, with its mixed bag of drug-induced ramblings, heartfelt acoustic moments, defiant rock anthems and ska wanderings (and which was panned by critics, but loved by fans) – but this followup is nonetheless very good.
However, one gets the sense that Shotter’s Nation is not yet the best work the band has to offer, and this may deter fans who are used to Mick Jones’s inexperienced and amazingly eccentric producing skills, and ousted lead guitarist Pat Walden’s ‘messy’ guitar style.
Interesting trivia about Shotters Nation:
• The cover sleeve for Shotter’s Nation is based on a painting by Henry Wallis (‘The Death Of Chatterton’), depicting the 18th century poet Thomas Chatterton, who was jeered at by the art community and public of the time for writing fraudulent verses.
Chatterton committed suicide at the age of 17, and became renowned as an ‘icon of unacknowledged genius’ by future poets such as Keats and Wordsworth. Doherty is to a great extent obsessed with Chatterton, even referencing him with a similar illustration on the front cover of his published writings, The Books of Albion.
• The photo of the half-naked girl on the sleeve was originally an image of Kate Moss, but after her split with Doherty her image was replaced with that of an unknown woman in the same pose.
• ‘Shotter’ is an English drug-related slang term.
• Albert Hammond, Jr of the Strokes features on guitar (three bars) on one of the tracks, but Doherty will not reveal which one.
• Shotter’s Nation was recorded in a matter of weeks at Olympic Studios, London.
Shotter’s Nation by Babyshambles
“Carry On Up The Morning”
“Side Of The Road”
“Crumb Begging Baghead”
“French Dog Blues”
“There She Goes”
“Deft Left Hand”
“Lost Art Of Murder”