Review: Jack Foley
THE Libertines appear determined to toss away the potential surrounding
them in a manner that is reminiscent of The Stone Roses in their
Hailed as musical geniuses following the release of their first
album, Up The Bracket, the band seemed to get overshadowed
by stories of Pete Doherty's drug addiction, and the inevitable
fall-out with co-founder, Carl Barat.
The future remains uncertain for them, but the present is all
about the new album, called The Libertines, which, just
for a change, places their music centre stage.
Spear-headed by the single, Can't Stand Me Now, which
confirmed that the band had lost none of its edgy style - while
also containing the hauntingly prophetic line, ‘You can’t
stand me now/but have we enough to keep it together/or do we just
go on pretending/and hope our luck is never ending’ - the
album delivers all that we could have hoped for, and a little
That is to say, it confirms Up The Bracket was no fluke
and that Pete, Carl, John and Gary can continue to be hailed as
legends in the making by a music press that has largely become
seduced by the band's questionable brilliance.
Produced by Clash legend, Mick Jones, and engineered by Bill
Price, who worked on London Calling, the album contains many Clash
comparisons, as well as hinting at influences such as The Jam,
The Cure and The Smiths.
It also serves to ensure that the band remains at the forefront
of the post-punk revival, putting the chasing pack of Franz Ferdinand,
Razorlight and, to a lesser degree, The Strokes, in their place.
Whether it's the album of the decade that some people are professing,
however, is debatable.
It certainly contains plenty of character, loads of catchy harmonies,
and some terrific songwriting, but, for me, it falls a little
short of being an out and out classic.
Highlights include the Last Post on the Bugle, which
showcases the band at their most infectious, and future single,
What Became of the Likely Lads, which, ironically, or
perhaps cleverly, places yet more question marks around the future
of the band, in form of lyrics such as 'what became of the likely
lads/what became of the dreams we had'.
Rather than spending too much time on pondering the demise of
The Libertines, however, fans should content themselves with revelling
in the highpoints.
Other stand-outs include Don't Be Shy, with its typically
edgy vocals and guitars (some of which scream Strokes); the strum-laden
Music When The Lights Go Out, which contains a terrific
recurring guitar loop, as well as a distinctly Sixties vibe; the
harder, nu-wave Campaign of Hate; and the 60s pop harmony
of What Katie Did, with its delicious, hopelessly catchy
'shoop, shoop, shoop' intro.
It is during moments such as these that listeners will hope that
The Libertines can exorcise the demons that are threatening to
tear them apart.
But then, as the lyrics of What Katie Did, remind us,
'it's a cruel, cruel world'.
1. Can’t Stand Me Now
2. Last Post On The Bugle
3. Don’t Be Shy
4. The Man Who Would Be King
5. Music When The Lights Go Out
7. The Ha Ha Wall
8. Arbeit Macht Frei
9. Campaign Of Hate
10. What Katie Did
12. The Saga
13. Road To Ruin
14. What Became Of The Likely Lads