Carl Barât
Let It Reign

Released: 16th February 2015
Label: Cooking Vinyl

It is inevitable that whatever Carl Barât does this year is going to be overshadowed by the new Libertines album, however that should not make you think it’s not worth investing your time in ‘Let It Reign’, the debut album from Carl’s latest band The Jackals. If ‘Let It Reign’ is nothing more than a stopgap before the third Libertines album then, as far as stopgaps go, it does not get much better than this.

‘Let It Reign’ has a strong sense of belonging to a gang which is exactly what Carl Barât needs. His solo release in 2010 proved that Carl is a musician who always needs a band with him; a group of lads that he can lead through the good times and the bad along with his devoted followers.

‘Glory Days’ opens the album with sea shanty melodies, scuzzy guitars and Carl’s unmistakable vocals that just make you want to follow him on whichever road life takes him. ‘Victory Gin’ has anthemic qualities and a killer line which sums up everything this album is about “We are not afraid of anyone, I defy anyone to tell me I am wrong” ...welcome back Carl, you have been missed. ‘Summer In The Trenches’ is one of the most Libertines-like songs on the album, the chaotic hooks, melodies and passionate chorus would have seen many of us rushing for the dance floor in the 2000s.

Other standout tracks on this album include ‘A Storm Is Coming’, a radio friendly song that in another generation would have seen the band get their moment on Top Of The Pops. ‘Beginning To See’ is a beautiful, tender song which sees Carl reflect upon life and religion. ‘War of the Roses’ is a stadium-filling anthem which has an Oasis vibe to it with the addition of a brass band chorus. The obsessional Libertines fans amongst us will question whether the lyrics here are about Pete as Carl sings “You’re the greatest friend to me, You’re the only friend to me, Nobody cares for me like you do’.

‘Let It Rain’, with its Phil Spector influenced production, gives the album another beautiful moment which sees Carl reflect upon his own life and desire for acceptance that he is who he is and he can’t change. “I can’t change who I am, change my ways”. Well Carl, we love you for who you are and you do not need to change.

‘Let It Reign’ deserves to be given recognition for the fact that it is a great album by a band that care and, in a world where that band ethic has lost its way slightly, we are very lucky that Carl Barât is still doing his thing regardless of whether it is fashionable or not.

Steve Tay

Erlend Øye

Released: 24th Nov 2014
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