The libertines new album


The Libertines, that legendary, almost mythical band regarded by many as the last great British rock band, return with a stunning new album, ‘All Quiet On The Eastern Esplanade’. 

It’s album number four for Carl, Gary, John and Peter, and despite the latters well publicised recent fall from the rock n roll hell-raiser lifestyle into domesticated bliss..finding love, family life and fatherdom in the rural idle of North West France, the album continues from and in some respects builds on the heights of the bands early bedraggled, bare-bones rock n roll.

Lead single ‘Run Run Run’ could quite easily be the band at any of the frequent highs of their career… it is such an obvious Libertines tune that only its totem.. you’d better run boy, faster than the past suggests the band in anything other than the flushes of their youth.

‘Have a Friend’, once again is those scrawny kids with Peter and Carl’s ramshackle, only just about their guitar riffs and harmonies held together by Gary and John. It’s a wonderful demonstration of what this band does oh so well. 

‘Merry Old England’ is a sobering spin on the refugee ‘crisis’…. how bad must it be if you’re coming to this shit hole of a has-been country. The only real surprise in the sophistication of the lyrical message here is that the band have never done this before.

‘Man With The Melody’ is a theatrical departure from the pace of the album. The vocals are shared by Peter, Carl and John and at times, there’s almost an Abbey Road ’ish’ feel sneaking into the track. 

Most recent single ‘Oh Shit’ is a riotous romping demonstration that all you need is a few chords, three minutes. In many ways, it’s everything this band stands for, in many ways, it should be everything EVERY band stands for. 

‘Night of The Hunter’ with its haunting Swan Lake phrasing to match the simply delicious melody is a true highlight, perhaps up there with the band’s finest moments. It may be an age-old subject, that oh so many have tackled before in so many genres, but few, if any have tackled it with such elegance or such charm.

‘Shiver’ is simply a beautiful song made into a beautiful record, clearly, there is some deep story to such a wonderful track but try as I might, I’ve not a clue what’s going on here..

The album closes with ‘Songs They Never Play on The Radio’.. a long-standing work in progress that not only demonstrates the genius of Peters’s writing, but the dual vocals of Peter and Carl capture the magic of this band and why to many, they will never be surpassed.

Having already been blessed this year with a plethora of great records from artists old and new, it’s ever so pleasing to hear a record that so many expected (and no doubt yearned) to be a disappointment, be as good as anything from the band’s heyday… or perhaps, just perhaps…the older, wiser, domesticated, and ever so slightly sedate Libertines are indeed The Libertines in their heyday? 

📸 Credit – Ed Cooke



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