Album Reviews: The Libertines by The Libertines4 stars out of 5
One gets the impression that a lot of the current crop of bands whose names start with "The" are not really living a life, but playing a part. This doesn't seem to be the case with The Libertines. Their self-titled album exudes a visceral reality, like the band holed themselves up in a room and recorded what transpired. This natural vibe is a welcome breath of stale cigarette smoke. While other bands being lumped in the garage rock category seem to be interchangeable both in name and musicianship, The Libertines have a much looser cockiness to their swagger. You don't have to try as hard when you can actually deliver the goods.
Sounding at times like The Clash channeling The Rolling Stones, The Libertines includes such throat-punch highlights as "Can't Stand Me Now" and "The Man Who Would Be King." But the real joy comes in listening all the way through to discover gems like "Music When the Lights Go Out" and "What Katie Did." This is an album in the old album sense, not a collection of radio-ready hit attempts. The CD has the uncanny ability to evoke a lost vinyl classic, one you hear spinning at a party you're not quite sure how you ended up at.
Does it take living a troubled life (as head Libertine Pete Doherty notoriously has) to produce an album this raw and hard-hitting? The Libertines' pain is our gain. Crash this party before its too late. - Jeff Kamin
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