Kids these days aren’t into punk, or even pop punk, nearly as much as the two generations before them were. Anarchy in the UK and bands who all have the same dark black or bleach blonde hair with swoop haircuts are hard to find nowadays. But Carl Barât isn’t letting it all die just yet. A true Englishman, Barât stays busy, and not just with music. He’s modeled (have you seen him? He’s gorgeous), gone to school, organized fundraisers and has appeared on TV multiple times since the disbandment of his most popular band, The Libertines, due mostly to infamous bandmate Pete Doherty’s heroin addiction.
But he’s back again with his new band The Jackals, featuring Billy Tessio on guitar, Adam Claxton on bass and Jay Bone on drums, who all heard about auditions via Twitter and Facebook and decided to take a stab at being in a band with a man who is on his way to being a punk rock legend, if he isn’t there already. Their debut album Let It Reign properly starts out with a song called “Glory Days” leading all of us generation Y kids to immediately recall all our scratched Rancid and Ramones CDs that were overplayed – and our parents to remember too, but more in the way of scratched vinyls and tangled cassette tapes. “Glory days, glory days, you threw them all away / You shoulda known better.” Preach.
And yes, a US and UK punk comparison is valid. Songs were recorded in the US, but Barât’s English accent proudly shines. Follow-up track “Victory Gin” throws in some brass and gritty lo-fi while Barât exclaims, “We are not afraid of anyone!”
Not every song is crazy and chaotic. In fact, there’s plenty of clean organization on Let It Reign. “Beginning To See” takes it down a few notches with a slower tempo, a violin and prominent acoustic guitar. Barât doesn’t have the most fine-tuned voice though. Expect semi-flat vocals in the ballads.
Barât discussed his decision to form a band instead of finding backing musicians in an interview with NME, and it basically comes down to the unity and debauchery it brings: “I want everyone to be together …. It’s about being part of something that’s bigger than its individual parts. In the confines of a band there’s so much more room for a mystery and having a philosophy and ideas. I can’t sit like that on my own and be like, ‘Hi guys, I’m Carl Barât, this is my manifesto.’ It just doesn’t work. There’s no romance or make believe with solo artists. If I turn up wearing a foppish velvet suit, people will be like, ‘Why are you dressed like a dick today, Carl? You didn’t dress like that last week!’ If a band turns up like that then everyone’s like ‘Wow!’ – it’s something bigger.” That’s the most punk rock thing anyone’s said in awhile.