The Libertines

Record review

Phases & Stages

The Libertines

(Rough Trade) Calling time on 2002's Up the Bracket, the Libertines polished off their Strokes-y debut with an unbilled skiffle, a spiffy little squawker whose most coherent line involved two more drinks then slipping under the table. Two years later, The Libertines' bonus strummer is decidedly more sober, a lost-girl lament "choking and smoking" itself into a hole. C'est la vie, when you're liberator is Pete "What a Waster" Doherty, in and out of rehab, on and off tours, up and down with the Rolling Stones. Or in the case of the Libertines sophomore splatter-all, the Kinks. Where Mick Jones poured no small amount of kerosene on Bracket, this time the Clash city rocker sands down the wood grain instead of serving it up by the pint. The results are as ebullient as they are confessional. When Doherty's Dave Davies, Libertines co-dependent Carl Barat, isn't reassuring his brother in chaos ("Can't Stand Me Now"), he's forgiving him in song ("What Became of the Likely Lads"). Said tracks bracket The Libertines, and save for "Boys in the Band" from the first LP, they're the UK lot's tops. Between them lie the positively Ray Davies "Don't Be Shy," gleefully Arthur-ish "The Man Who Would Be King," and tea time ditty "What Katie Did." Britpop hasn't been this tuneful since Blur were still charmless men. The remorseful "Music When the Lights Go Out" and "The Ha Ha Wall" balance the LP's narcissism, though a sea shanty always lightens the mood ("The Tomblands"). Let's all drink to the death of a clown.


A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for almost 40 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

More Music Reviews
Texas Platters
William Harries Graham
Jakes (Record Review)

Doug Freeman, April 12, 2019

Texas Platters
Rebecca Loebe
Give Up Your Ghosts (Record Review)

Christina Garcia, April 12, 2019

More by Raoul Hernandez
Texas Platters
Grupo Fantasma
American Music Vol. VII (Record Review)

April 19, 2019

Texas Platters
Sydney Wright
Seiche (Record Review)

April 5, 2019

One click gets you all the newsletters listed below

Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

Can't keep up with happenings around town? We can help.

Austin's queerest news and events

Updates for SXSW 2019

All questions answered (satisfaction not guaranteed)

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle