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."
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.