The Libertines - The Libertines - Albums - Reviews - Soundblab

The Libertines - The Libertines

by Martin Leay Rating: Release Date:2004-08-30

Rock'n'roll can pretty much burn off pure mythology alone, but what happens when the soap opera of drug abuse and broken friendships threatens to overwhelm the music? That's the problem the Libertines' eponymous second LP must face up to - and while it sometimes struggles to live up to the magic of its predecessor, 2002's Up The Bracket, it's still peppered with enough inspiration to explain why people still care about this band. Co-frontmen Carl Barat and Pete Doherty tackle their problems head on with the opening "Can't Stand Me Now", an anthemic, harmonica-accompanied number with echoes of The Cure's "Lovecats", that sees Barat sum up The Libertines' troubled history in the album's most quotable line: "The boy kicked out at the world/ The world kicked back a lot fucking harder". Further rollicking moments come on the Barat-sung "Narcissist" and knockabout closer "What Became Of The Likely Lads?" But there's some workmanlike moments, and almost inevitably, they feature Pete at the helm: see the hoarse, off-key "Don't Be Shy". All told, a merely good record. If The Libertines truly want a place in rock history, they'll have to prove they have the discipline to channel their undeniable inspiration. --Louis Pattison

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