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CD: The Libertines - Anthems For Doomed Youth | reviews, news & interviews

CD: The Libertines - Anthems For Doomed Youth

CD: The Libertines - Anthems For Doomed Youth

Doherty and Co return to the fray with more tales of London’s seedy underbelly

Anthems for Doomed Youth: London-centric

As someone who has always been completely indifferent to the retro New Wave stylings of The Libertines, I can’t say that I greeted the news of their reformation with anything more than a shrug of the shoulders. Sure, they had released a few toe-tappers around the turn of the century, but to view Pete Doherty and Carl Barât’s mob as culturally significant for their music seemed absurd. So I was somewhat surprised to experience all my prior prejudices go up in smoke on hearing Anthems For Doomed Youth, the band’s third album and first in over a decade.

Whereas 2002’s Up The Bracket and their self-titled second album suffered somewhat from Mick Jones’ production style, Anthems For Doomed Youth certainly benefits from Jake Gosling’s more considered approach. More melodic and at a more relaxed pace than before, the new album’s cautionary tales from London’s seedy underbelly frequently recall the spirit of the Only Ones and Suede’s 2013 comeback Bloodsports with an added dose of Music Hall vibes. Anthems For Doomed Youth is also one of the more London-centric albums of 2015, with such places as Camden Town, White City, the River Thames and the Old Vic among others all getting used as points of reference.

“Barbarians” opens the album with an almost Chas and Dave flavoured New Wave and more than a sniff of The Jam’s sound and it’s an attention-grabbing start. On “You’re My Waterloo” the influence of Ray Davies looms large and the literate “Anthem For Doomed Youth” even suggests the woozy Music Hall ghost of obscure nineties cultists David Devant and his Spirit Wife. There are still lively guitars and a thumping beat to be had on Anthems For Doomed Youth, especially on the raucous “Fury of Chonburi” and “Glasgow Coma Scale Blues”, but it’s clear that with their re-emergence, The Libertines have turned a stylistic corner that could have plenty of new ears tuning into Doherty and Barât’s rakish world view.

Cautionary tales from London’s seedy underbelly that frequently recall the spirit of the Only Ones and Suede’s 2013 comeback Bloodsports with an added dose of Music Hall vibes

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Average: 4 (1 vote)

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