The Libertines
The Libertines


3.5
great

Review

by Ben Thornburgh CONTRIBUTOR (151 Reviews)
January 7th, 2015 | 13 replies


Release Date: 2004 | Tracklist

Review Summary: For Tomorrow: A Guide to Contemporary British Music, 1988-2013 (Part 80)

The Libertines opener “Can’t Stand Me Now” represents the peak as The Libertines as a singles act because it’s one of the few times they seemed to give a shit about a single. While most of the time The Libertines were content letting hooks come accidentally, “Can’t Stand Me Now” is the rare instance when they sharpened their key abilities - muscular rhythm section, deceptively infectious melodies, a ramshackle momentum - into a fine, chart piercing point. And they did it for their bitterest song.

As predictable as the rising sun, the rock band embarks on their first big tour and grow weary of each other. Pushed to mutual exhaustion, the band can channel this tension into some of their best work, worst work, or just plain break-up. The Libertines gave us a great single, possibly their best. “Can’t Stand Me Now” finds best buds Carl Barat and Pete Doherty trading spiky barbs as they reveal that respect between longtime friends is a facade that comes down at the slightest push. “An ending fitting for the start,” begins Barat, “You twist and tore our love apart.” “No you’ve got it the wrong way round,” responds Doherty, “You shut me up and blamed it on the brown.” The song peaks during the titular refrain, Barat and Doherty passing it back and forth like clenching fists under strained smiles.

If The Libertines had let that focus and tension inform all of their sophomore album, it’d be their best. Instead we get “Can’t Stand Me Now” and closer “What Became of the Likely Lads?” bookending 12 tracks of shamble rock that sounds like The Velvet Underground eagerly rehearsing Loaded. None of it’s bad but it does became indistinct after a while, tracks blurring together. Highlights like the manic “Don’t Be Shy” or the shoop-galang-galang of “What Katie Did” don’t come around often enough and, when they do, don’t peak high enough. Still, even if The Libertines can’t eclipse Up the Bracket, it still manages its share of strong tunes. “Music When the Lights Go Out” has a lovely last-waltz ambiance while “The Ha Ha Wall” reveals The Libertines entire modus operandi was just an alternative to boredom.

The Libertines flamed out in true rock ‘n’ roll fashion. They came, they released two albums in two years, and by their third they were done. While they were around they created a greasy new sex symbol in infamous drug-hoover Pete Doherty who would overshadow the band’s vital rhythm section, particularly drummer Gary Powell, whose muscular playing and honest-to-god chops kept The Libertines in line. Maybe they didn’t change the world like the NME thinks they did but they had a good time regardless. And hey, they even managed to all stay alive long enough to fulfill the inevitable 3rd act of the rock ‘n’ roll band; reuniting for money.



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Chart.
3.5
great
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Comments:Add a Comment 
HolidayKirk
Contributing Reviewer
January 7th 2015


1721 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Full series: http://holidaykirk.com/

Medium: https://medium.com/@HolidayKirk

Twitter: @HolidayKirk



New review every Wednesday.

Mort.
January 7th 2015


6992 Comments


good review man

you should review the cribs at some point, id like to hear your thoughts on them

Digging: Spider Kitten - Behold Mountain...

zakalwe
January 7th 2015


11621 Comments

Album Rating: 1.5

Nice review

Fuckin stinker of an album

Digging: Savoy Brown - Looking In

ChoccyPhilly
January 7th 2015


10232 Comments


I don't get the acclaim for this band

Digging: Neurotech - Stigma

Pheromone
February 1st 2015


4173 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Ight zak.



PappyMason
April 27th 2015


3367 Comments


There's a review for this on RYM which includes the immortal line: 'Starting with the vocals, they are really brittish and annoying'. Had me in stitches.

'Music When the Lights Go Out' is still a great tune...

Digging: Wes Montgomery - Smokin' at the Half Note

zakalwe
April 27th 2015


11621 Comments

Album Rating: 1.5

It's the whole libertines package that is fucking impossible to swallow.

Pompous arseholes who think their the new clash bleating out bullshit to a gentrified hipster flock.

Fuck off Doherty you streak of piss.

Arcade
Contributing Reviewer
April 27th 2015


5744 Comments


their debut is better

Digging: Iron Maiden - The Book of Souls

zakalwe
April 27th 2015


11621 Comments

Album Rating: 1.5

Yeah that one had its moments.

ButteryBiscuitBass
April 27th 2015


10838 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Thought this was the nuts @ 17 when it dropped.

zakalwe
April 27th 2015


11621 Comments

Album Rating: 1.5

Pity yours haven't butters

ButteryBiscuitBass
April 27th 2015


10838 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

If my balls dropped I'd be blind!

zakalwe
April 27th 2015


11621 Comments

Album Rating: 1.5

Classic



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