The Libertines - Up The Bracket

by Martin Leay Rating: Release Date:2002-10-21

Can Up the Bracket, the debut album from London dandies The Libertines live up to the hype? Sure, they walk the walk: it's hard to see how four doe-eyed indie dreamboats with greasy hair, cider-stained leather jackets and a wide-eyed mythology that places them as chivalrous defenders of Old Albion could fail to capture the attention of a nation of students dead-set on aping the Strokes' sense of louche retro-cool.

Certainly, though, there's some fine pedigree to Up the Bracket. With the Clash's Mick Jones at the production helm, gravelly tracks such as "Horror Show" and "The Boy Looked at Johnny" rattle along like phlegmy first-gen punk classics. But like the Strokes, The Libertines manage to imbue snotty garage-rock with a sort of wistful romanticism--an effect that adds genuine soul to their raucous clatter. Although there's no sign of "What a Waster", the snotty single with which the group made their name, there's no shortage of excellent tunes here: "Boys in the Band" is an affectionate hymn to the groupie, with frontmen Pete Doherty and Carl Barat hollering "And they all get 'em out / For the boys in the band". "I Get Along" proves that behind their shambolic veneer these boys have an eye for a tight, nervy but undeniably classic songwriting style that pricks memories of the Jam or the Buzzcocks. Very, very promising. --Louis Pattison

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