Babyshambles

The Blinding EP

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After Babyshambles lived up to their name all too well on their debut album, Down in Albion, Pete Doherty and crew returned with The Blinding EP, their first major-label release. Though these five songs have a much cleaner production than Down in Albion -- or anything Doherty's previous band, the Libertines, recorded, for that matter -- but the band's playing and songwriting is only slightly more focused than it was on their debut. Once again, it's a shame. The Blinding has moments of potential greatness (or at least, very-good-ness) that are squandered, and the EP's polished sound just ends up calling attention to the sloppiness of the music. It also sounds strangely airless, particularly on "I Wish," an easygoing ska number that should be upbeat but comes off flatly. Indeed, most of the EP just doesn't have much of an impact: the title track comes charging in, then doesn't have much to say; "Love You But You're Green" is a would-be tender ballad that meanders past the moment; and "Beg, Steal or Borrow" is the kind of witty, bittersweet vignette that Doherty seems to be able to write in his sleep (and in this case, might have been). The Blinding is marginally better -- or at least, more listenable -- than Down in Albion, but it still feels like a waste of Doherty's potential.

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