Thursday, December 24, 2015

The Libertines : " Anthems For Doomed Youth"

 They got the band back together, after Doherty's tabloid worthy battle with addiction. I am not sure why I have never really given the band a shot until, now but what appeals to me is their admiration for the Smiths and Morrissey, which their sound winks at but is not dominated by. There is some crooning, but obviously they make no attempts to touch Morrissey...and really how could they?  Their is a driving punk edge still retained on the opener. The vocals are emotive and raw, but still sung. The guitar has a jangle to it at times. " Gunga Din" the first single off this album as a more drugged out swagger which would otherwise sound like the Clash. The lyrics to this are autobiographical.

The dandy turn they take on "Fame and Fortune" is a little too happy. It sounds like something little English boys clean their bum's too, not unlike Spinal Tap's "Cups  and Cakes" the kind of song that shows they had way too much time in the studio. The do achieve the 60s sound they were going for. Mike drops into more of a croon on the title track. His voice sound good on this one, it is somewhat poppy, but well handled. I get a little hesitant when they pull out the piano for "You're My Waterloo", but for a ballad things are pretty decent.  The Smiths thing surface , most notably in the bass line on 'Belly of the Beast". Like the Smiths they are able to incorporate varied styles into their sound almost building up into a gospel cadence. Things back down into the slower strum of "Iceman" , the ballad is hesitantly played. It's not until the drums and re-verb heavy guitar colors the background that it really feels like a more fully formed song. In the final minute the chorus builds into something more substantial.

They catch a more solid groove thanks to their bass player on "Heart of the Matter" . They begin to steer clear of the ballad with  the more ballsy rocking strut of 'Fury of Chonburi" . This returns to their older garage rock sound. While it might not launch them into their more punk sound"The Milkman's Horse" finds a better balance between their more melodic side , but with out killing the momentum and slowing into a sappy ballad. That punk side is indulged on "Glasgow Coma Scale Blues" . The piano returns on "Dead For Love" .  I can appreciate the emotion put into these moments , but it is not their. strongest side. Overall this album is pretty damn good I'll round it up to a 9, so the strong moments are pretty on point.

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