Most well known for his work in The Libertines, Carl Barat is back again with his new group The Jackals. Carl Barat & The Jackals‘ debut album, Let It Reign, is an Orwellian nightmare down to the ‘Victory Gin’, with a power to evoke feeling that is matched by few other albums.
The running theme of anarchy throughout Let It Reign suggests a punk influence, but it’s guitars that confirm it. All through the album, guitar riffs that would sit comfortably on an album by The Clash are featured, definitely pulling Barat away from the ‘Carl Barat of The Libertines’ schtick and strapping him tightly into something bigger. Initially intended to be a solo project, the album sounds so perfectly balanced that Let It Reign could not be the same album without The Jackals.
The Orwellian video for ‘A Storm Is Coming’ successfully sums up Let It Reign, with the questioning of power a theme present in the clip just as it is throughout the entire album. Lyrics such as “I don’t mind // I know a storm is coming // Things won’t ever be the same again // I won’t run this time // It has to be now or never // Sooner or later it has to end” truly emphasise the focus on power throughout the album. With such intoxicating invitations to break down sinister powers, it is hard to not get entangled in the world of Carl Barat & The Jackals.
Despite the departure from the sounds of The Libertines, Carl Barat’s croons make an appearance once again in ‘Beginning To See’, providing welcome relief from the aggressive nature of the previous four tracks. It is just a one song rest though as Barat gently leads listeners through verses of ‘March Of The Idle’ before a boistrous, almost intmadingly loud and aggressive chorus, preparing you to be dragged once more into a fight you didn’t know you were a part of but are more than willing to fight in.
One strange break in the ten-track album is ‘We Want More’. It is not confronting like the previous tacks have been, nor does it sound particularly angry, but lyrically, it certainly isn’t detached from a sense of injustice. After ‘We Want More’ Barat’s time in The Libertines catches up with him once again in that the boistrous guitars and croons on the edge of being shouts and pleas return to the songs just in time for “Sunday Feeling” to set in as the album draws to a close.
Listening to the album is like watching a film that is so enthralling that one forgets for that space of time that it isn’t totally real. For that reason, Carl Barat & The Jackals’ Let It Reign gets:
Let It Reign is due for release on February 16th through Cooking Vinyl.