Carl Barât and the Jackals

Let It Reign

Grand Jury

Mar 09, 2015 Web Exclusive Bookmark and Share


It's an odd decision for Carl Barât to be releasing what is essentially his second solo album not long before the release of the eagerly anticipated album from his perennially popular reformed group, The Libertines. Tacking on The Jackals, musicians he found through online ads and then vetted, much like a music competition show (albeit at a pub in London, England), Let It Reign is very much Barât's solo work. The follow-up to his self-titled solo debut in 2010, Let It Reign has been awaiting release for over a year. This delay has served it well, as the rough and ready songs have had a chance to season.

Recording the album in Los Angeles with veteran hardcore punker, The Bronx's Joby J. Ford, Let It Reign has the bite of American punk rock with the swagger of its British counterpart. Barât carries the swagger over to his exaggerated enunciation of snarly lyrics in the most British-accented delivery possible. A return to the garage rock that has propelled most of his musical endeavors, the primary thrust of Let It Reign is guttural. There are, however, tempo and minor style changes along the way that stop the album from being one long string of yells. Barât's high speed shouts on "Summer in the Trenches" boomerang against a ska bounce and slow down on the swaying "Beginning to See," which would work well on a musical theater stage. Alternately, "The Gears" has the stalwartness that lends itself to a stiff-stepping moshpit. And in a schizophrenic turn, the music is blandly accessible on "We Want More" and Britpop drab on the title track.

The critics can approve of Barât's musical moves or not. In the eyes of his dedicated following, he can do no wrong. And so for them he continues to reign. (www.carlbaratandthejackals.com)

Author rating: 5.5/10

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Average reader rating: 7/10



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