Saturday, September 12, 2015

Album Review :: The Libertines - Anthems For Doomed Youth

The Libertines

Anthems For Doomed Youth

September 11 2015 (Libertines Recording Ltd./Virgin EMI)


Words: Alison Mack

The Libertines return after an 11 year lay-off - during which all four members have undergone plenty of life's ups and downs - hook up with One Direction and Ed Sheeran producer Jake Gosling, and turn out this collection of emotive ballads ('You’re My Waterloo'), anthems ('Belly Of The Beast'), big singalong choruses ('Barbarians'), and plenty more for their third full-length.

There are touches of the old here, like 'You're My Waterloo' which dates back to a 1999 demo, now having been given the gloss-over treatment with added strings. There are also the Camden tales - now part of the Libs' own, and rock'n'roll, history - 'Gunga Din' and 'Fame And Fortune'; the latter an homage (of sorts) to those long gone days, as Carl Barât details the travails of the inexperienced in the world of the big sharks: "Dubloons down for a double bluff/Dip your quill or your bleeding heart and sign there and there and there."

Elsewhere, it's a case of “get out of my dreams you scum" on the jaunty 'The Milkman’s Horse', and to the sound of waves on a shore opening up 'Iceman', Doherty’s reflective acoustic - a pleasing, but ineffectual, track not quite as successfully delivered as the rest of the record's contents. On ‘Belly Of The Beast’ it is Barât's turn to deal with personal demons, quoting a line from his therapist, “pound for pound, blow for blow, you’re the most messed up motherfucker I know” in a revealing blues thrash; while 'Glasgow Coma Scale Blues' offers up a last robust stomper of indie rock in a track that embodies the essence of friendship.

For all the highs and lows, 'Heart of The Matter' perhaps delivers the most apt lines of the record: “With all the battering it’s taken/ I’m surprised it’s still ticking.” A thought we may all have about The Libertines having survived their doomed youth and still managing to sound at the top of their game.

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