Greatest hits: album reviews

Album of the week: Let it Reign by Carl Barat and The Jackals

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 07 March, 2015, 8:30pm
UPDATED : Friday, 17 April, 2015, 4:56pm

Let it Reign
Carl Barat and The Jackals
Cooking Vinyl Ltd

While The Libertines await their infamous skag dandy Pete Doherty to conquer his demons before fulfilling their promise of a third album later this year, Carl Barat returns with a new gang of merry rabble rousers, The Jackals.

With his recent lacklustre solo effort coming and quickly going almost unnoticed, Let It Reign sees Barat return to the bravado of brotherhood and reignites his deep fascination with The Clash. Coming out with guns blazing, opener Glory Days, with its whiff of Rule Britannia over spiky guitars and a ska-esque beat, sees Barat at his exhilarating best when channeling his inner Strummer. It's a rousing tribute to the 300-plus soldiers shot for desertion during the first world war and the "us versus them" theme continues throughout.

The Libertines' shadows looms largest over the reckless Victory Gin, crunching guitars and triumphant horns backing up Barat's snarl, "We are not afraid of anyone/ I defy anyone to tell me I am wrong". Recorded in Los Angeles with The Bronx's guitarist Joby J Ford, the raw live production only serves to strengthen the defiant spirit of the punchy punk gems.

There are strong nods to Barat's turbulent relationship with ex-best mate Doherty, most notably on A Storm is Coming ("It has to be now or never/ Sooner or later it has to end") and the fuzzed-out War of the Roses ("You're the greatest friend for me/ You're the only friend to me/ Nobody cares for me like you do"). It's hardly a radical departure from Barat's usual call-to-arms manifesto, but it bodes well for the return of the unpredictable turmoil that surrounds The Libertines.