Their second album heralds stage two of Dirty Pretty Things' career: now virtually part of the furniture as far as English guitar groups go, they can't keep trading on the drama of being the band formed from the ashes of the Libertines. So it's time to put up or shut up, and with Romance at Short Notice, they put up. Leader Carl Barât is still in love with the idea of his band being a cool, nocturnal gang, and, accordingly, he sings as if it is 4am and he's just lit his 40th cigarette. In romanticising seediness (as on the splendidly louche Buzzards and Crows), and surrendering to the fact that Britain will never be the "Albion" of Barât's fantasies (on the trumpet-tooting Tired of England) they tread familiar, but very listenable, ground. An endearing example of raucous rock with a cynicism-free soft centre.
CD: Dirty Pretty Things, Romance at Short Notice
Caroline Sullivan writes about rock and pop for the Guardian