Okay, so my love for The Libertines is borderline obsessive; I never got the chance to see them pre-reunion and when the hints at their make-up came about – I couldn’t not go.
I think my love for this band started with me simply liking one of their lyrics. The lyric was “Is it cruel or kind not to speak my mind, and to lie to you, rather than hurt you”. I won’t do a very good job of analysing that lyric so I’ll just say that its pretty self explanatory. From this I listened to more and more songs, fell more in love with their chaotic style and eventually went on to read about their story and the relationships within the band. This is what really gripped me, a rollercoaster of emotions within the band which went from highs of playing small gigs together in their shared flat, to lows of Pete being kicked out of the band and a jail sentence.
Theres just something about this band that clicks with me and makes me want to listen to their music and see them play more and more; and theres never two gigs the same whenever Peter Doherty’s involved, I’ve been to gigs where he’s turned up, sober and on top form, not hitting a wrong note and completely focused on his music, I’ve also been to see him perform a full acoustic set joined with a violinist, a spotlight and with a lot of crowd interaction, and I’ve seen him the other end of the spectrum, where he’s struggled to stand up, smashed guitars and jumped in the crowd.
The first time I saw this band was the 2014 Hyde Park warm up gigs, I saw them play the Barrowlands and they blew me away, Scotland crowds are known for being energetic anyway, but with a band like the Libertines in front of them, it was chaos.
A lot of people don’t like Peter Doherty and I understand why this might be, he’s unreliable, arguably romanticises drugs and hasn’t got the best reputation, I’ve experienced this first hand; I’ve been to see him in Stoke a number of times at the same venue, on one occasion he was a no show, with no explanation given and on the other, he turned up at about midnight, 3 hours late, and played until 2am on a ‘school’ night but I’ve also seen interviews where he comes across as extremely intelligent, charismatic and likeable, a completely different side to what the press show. The few times I’ve managed to come face to face with Pete have always been short but sweet, he’s stopped for photos while being mobbed by a group of fans and he’s even took the time to shake mine and my girlfriends hand from behind a bar moments before going on stage, its not a lot but it can make somebody night.
Anyway onto the new album and the future of the Libertines. Anthems for Doomed Youth has had mixed reveiws, some say it was over produced and I can see where they might be coming from with the chorus of Glasgow Coma Scale Blues which i admit sounds a bit like a choir with them all singing in unison, but with Singles such as Gunga Din and Heart Of The Matter; which I will add is probably up there in the top 5 of my favourite Libertines songs, I think the album deserves a lot of praise. I think they stuck to their roots more than a lot of people thought they would, unorganised guitar solos in Fury Of Chonburi and the odd random sentence or scream that Pete tends to add is still there.
Although not a lot of press about it due to Petes solo album release, there is some talk about a Libertines 4th album, I personally would like to see some of their old demos recorded and released like the bonus tracks on Anthems for Doomed Youth.
No more album playback listening parties though please.. I think about 10 turned up to Birminghams and it was a bit of a shambles.