Ill resist the common album review practice of providing a short history of the band over a few needless paragraphs.  You know the score, half of Barat’s musical past comes from the ramshackle madness of The Libertines, whilst his other half is more of a polished chart chasing indie pop affair. Either of these variations would actually have been perfectly fine with me, but therein lies the problem, ‘Romance at short notice’ is neither here nor there.

 

It starts promisingly enough on track one ‘Buzzards & Crows’, where a slightly disturbing Circus type chime runs through the verse before Carlos spunkily churns out the chorus.  Its not long though before it all goes a bit Pete Tong.  Track two ‘Hippy’s son’ has Carl spitting out his lyrics with a tad too much venom, which comes off as a wee bit cringey.  The ‘Hush Hush My Love’ chorus slightly redeems the track, although it feels oddly placed within this rough arsed, dog eared track.  Meanwhile efforts such as ‘Plastic Hearts’ & ‘Come Closer’ are pleasant enough but anyone who remembers ‘From Waterloo to anywhere’ will be begging for ‘Deadwood’ or ‘You fuckin love it’.

 

The second half of the album starts to resemble something you could get your teeth into, where ‘Kicks or consumption’ & ‘Best face’ hammer out a decent tempo and all of a sudden things don’t seem quite so grim. It cant last of course and the Buzzcocks b-side standard of ‘Chinese Dogs’ is enough to reduce this listener back to the head in hands position.

 

On tracks like ‘Faultlines’ with its annoyingly familiar ‘Ohh la la la la la la’ I cant escape a dogged feeling of déjà vu of how the Lib’s had done it all before, but better.  Worse still, is ‘Tired of England’, where the band attempt to stick up for dear old Blighty in the face of criticism.  Despite its positive sentiments I found myself longing for ‘Downing Street Kindling’ by Larrikin Love, a track basically stating how shite England is, but at least it had a bit of a spring about its cockney urchin step, which is more than can be said for this tiresome track.  Although the line ‘The Queen Of England sits on her thrown of bingo cards and chicken bones’ is enough to raise a smile, albeit a rather confused one.

 

When this album at its best its average, when at its lowest its dire.  Overall making for an LP that’s probably worth a Butchers Look but essentially as bland as Meg Whites pasty white face (sorry Meg).

 

On the above mentioned worst track (and new single!?!) ‘Tired of England’ Mr B sings about the ‘Blues, the Greys, the Green, the Brown’ well quite, and that describes this album pretty nicely really.  Some more of The Yellows, the Oranges and maybe even a few Polka Dots for next album ay lads?

 

Rich Melvin