The Libertines: Anthems For Doomed Youth – album review
The Libertines – Anthems For Doomed Youth (Harvest Records)
CD | DL | LP
There’s less of them around now.
Those generation defining bands the the old people tut at, shaking their weary heads at the youth of today. Those bands that somehow do the marmite thing and draw a new line in the shifting sands of taste.
The Libertines fit this mould. They are the last of the outlaws, the misfits, the band that lives and fucks up by its own rules, the band that make the songs that resonate through the beaten up rehearsal rooms of this green and ghostly land, this Albion. as the next generation pick up their guitars.
They are also the latest last band to live the vagabond lifestyle. Their chemical frenzy got them burned in the tabloids and led to their initial collapse. Another great British band that burned out too quick and staggered up to two albums and couldn’t fulfil their promise.
Oblivion beckoned but somehow ten years later they regrouped as the proper four and managed to make an album which oddly has turned into a career high that may, for once and for all, puts the debauched tales to bed and make them appreciated for their craft.
They have always written great songs that hung together with a loveable sloppiness. Like the Stones before them this was more about their own personal chops than the click track digital metronome of Modern music. This would kill some bands but works in their favour – it also helps to have a great rhythm section if you want to get away with this kind of shuffle.
This is the ballad of Pete and Carl, the two dandy rogues who are approaching a Byronesque middle age with the well earned grey hairs of excess. The added years adds an unlikely wisdom to their craft and like their true forebears the Smiths and the Clash they cut a dandy guitar pop full of cultural reference, a brinkmanship edge and a poetic genius with the great twists and turns that could only work under their own rules.
The loping opener Barbarians has been around a bit with it’s jam style shuffle whilst the catchy Gunga Din made sense as the opening salvo single, Fame and Fortune is a nod to the great Chas and Dave, whilst autobiographical title track has a downbeat swagger, the skanking Heart of The matter has been finally finished and Belly of The Beast has a Smiths style poetry to its business, the jazzy acoustic Iceman is about a mysterious girl and the tender You’re My Waterloo is the final nailed down perfect version of an old song whilst Fury of Chonrubi is a rushing rude the dark underbelly of Thailand where the band recorded their album, the stripped down The milkman Horse is like Steptoe and Son gone indie glam with a killer chorus, Glasgow Coma Scale Blues is the band delivering the perfect pastiche of themselves and finally Dead For Love delivers a full band harmony
The whole album flows perfectly-a scuzzy and thrilling work of classic British rock n roll with arcane riffs and zig zagging references that puts the Libertines back at the frontline.
The Libertines have just announced this handful of live shows, all in January 2015:
- Thursday 21st Glasgow SSE Hydro Arena
- Saturday 23rd Manchester Arena
- Monday 25th Nottingham Capital FM Arena
- Tuesday 26th Cardiff Motorpoint Arena
- Wednesday 27th Birmingham Barclaycard Arena
- Friday 29th Bournemouth BIC
- Saturday 30th London The O2
Tickets go onsale Friday 25 September at 9am gigst.rs/Libertines.