It has been quite some time since the music of Babyshambles leader Pete Doherty received more notoriety than his drug arrests. That won’t change with “Shotter’s Nation,” though there are a few instances where the songs manage to make the listener forget about the court appearances and remember Doherty’s uniquely skewered way around a guitar line and lyric.
Though there’s nothing here that reaches the highs of Doherty’s work with the Libertines, opener “Carry On Up the Morning” comes close, with its ramshackle guitar opening and the singer’s apparent perspective on his nebulous public persona. But too often the songs sound like half-baked fragments (”Side of the Road”) or third-rate Beatles outtakes (”Crumb Begging Baghead”). Here’s hoping Doherty can overcome his problems and return his focus to songwriting.