Design By Humans
Published On: Mon, Jan 11th, 2016

The Libertines: Anthems for Doomed Youth

libertinesThe Libertines
Anthems for Doomed Youth
(Harvest Records)

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This is the one we’ve been waiting for, folks. This is the answer to the promise made when The Libertines released the incredible Up the Bracket in 2002, before quickly devolving into scandals and shambles. It took eleven years, a breakup, a couple of side projects, and a few false starts for them to release their third album, but it is finally here. Anthems for Doomed Youth sounds more or less exactly like I hoped it would.
Both Pete Doherty and Carl Barât made some pretty good music apart from each other, but the interplay between their guitars and vocals here is a reminder that they work best together. They trade verses or sing in unison on almost every song, to the point where it’s sometimes hard to distinguish who is who. Their volatile chemistry is what makes the band, and maybe part of what broke it, but there’s no denying that these two are musical soulmates. On the faster songs, The Libertines bring to mind their great forebears, The Clash. They blend influences ranging from pop, garage rock, and reggae with two guitars that, once again, sound like they were made to bounce off each other. The slower songs, and there are more than usual here, remind one of The Kinks; they are wistful and reflective and unmistakably British. Anthems for Doomed Youth could have been one of rock’s great what-if’s, but it ended up being a very good album by a band that hopefully now realizes their power as a unit. The deluxe edition comes with four bonus songs, all of which are good, indicating that they aren’t done yet.

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The Libertines: Anthems for Doomed Youth