Carl Barat

The first bit, you know already. The Libertines – the greatest rock and roll story of a generation, a classic British debut rock album in 2002’s ‘Up The Bracket’ and the capturing of countless hearts with a musical spirit we hadn’t been within touching distance of since Britpop. Now back in 2010 to play the Reading and Leeds Festivals, to finally have the full-stop they never got the dignity of after a messy and depressing split in 2004.

It’s a reunion that has been a long time coming – and one that, if co-frontman Pete Doherty had had his way, would have been completed already, last year or even earlier. But while friendships were rebuilt and the timing finally became right in 2010, there was something else that had stopped Carl Barât from leaping into the circus earlier, despite Pete’s attempts to "twist his arm" into agreeing over the past couple of years. Something inside him that, after releasing four albums with The Libertines and Dirty Pretty Things, had caused his focus to rest on something that had become more important, real and personal – too vital to leave to wait, whatever the lucrative temptations. "I’d had it with bands," Carl bluntly sums up. "On a number of levels really. Chiefly the democracy thing that I had with bands. It doesn’t really work. I wanted to do it my own way, to test myself rather than working to a shared vision or compromise." And the test? Carl stepping out of the line-up to release his first solo album which came out October 2010. Born from a set of introspective demos spawned in his north London home in 2009 and brought to life in early 2010 with producer Leo Abrahams in London’s Miloko studios, the self-titled record is a bold yet tender affair characterized by Carl’s classic British songwriting and heart-on-the-leather-jacket sleeve-honesty. An album as far from the indie conveyor belt as you could get, while still cut through with the big tunes and unshakeable pedigree that has seen Carl carve his name in the history of British rock already.