The Libertines: Anthems for Doomed Youth (Virgin/EMI) Review | Under the Radar Magazine Under the Radar | Music Blog for the Indie Music Magazine
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The Libertines

Anthems for Doomed Youth

Virgin/EMI

Nov 02, 2015 The Libertines Bookmark and Share


The concept of certain members of The Libertines actually existing within this mortal sphere in 2015 was a colossal source of doubt for some time back in the mid-‘00s, let alone that they would be still releasing music together as a band. And even more unlikely was the thought that their third album-11 years after the compelling, messy, bedraggled, and raggedly appropriate eponymous album seemingly brought their story to a premature endis actually a thing of simple, fulfilling joy and creative inertia. The thrown punches and black eyes have been replaced by the early joy of Pete Doherty and Carl Barât in tandemstill behaving like mischievous schoolboys playing truant but this time with a more worldly guise, as shown on the exceptional “Fame and Fortune” with its “Been there, seen it” dismissal of London’s hipster hordes. Equally impressive is the sombre, heartfelt title track which skirts round some lyrical missteps by being genuinely emotive and featuring the same glorious drunken choirboy melodies that so enraptured on their early singles, with a similar stark and sombre conclusion on “Dead for Love” concluding proceedings with a delicate sincerity.

The verve and chaos of “Barbarians,” “Fury of Chonburi,” and “Glasgow Coma Scale Blues” keep a carefully considered arms-length balance been the raucous and the sentimental while the “The Milkman’s Horse” is one of the most startlingly honest things the band have ever written. Also surprising is that the production from pop favorite Jake Gosling works impressively well and helps frame their more mature approach in a favorable light-the sharply-honed textures drawing attention to the ever-excellent harmonies rather than the murk and grime which often obscured their earlier records, though always keeping the anarchic sense of uncertainty shadowing the tracks.

It’s far from a masterpiece—lead single “Gunga Din” is let down by a feeble chorus and the album noticeably sags in the middle, most notably on the overwrought “You’re My Waterloo” and the aimless “Iceman.” Yet overall, the sense of surprise at its mere existence should not overshadow what is a genuinely impressive return for a band releasing a third album in difficult circumstances. As ever, The Libertines have done it their way. What is most impressive is that after so long away, they sound as vital and era-defining as they ever did back then. Maybe after everything that has passed—the weak solo records, the prison stays, and the tabloid pages—their adage that “there are no good old days, these are the good old days…” might just turn out to be true after all. Before and after everything else, The Libertines still stand and fall on their musical output. And Anthems for Doomed Youth proves conclusively that they are somehow still standing. Drunkenly swaying and swaggering, but still standing proud and tall. (www.thelibertines.com)

Author rating: 7.5/10

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Average reader rating: 9/10



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