Sure They’re Rock & Roll, But Is Their Music Any Good?
If we judge rock & roll bands by their eccentric lifestyles then The Libertines, behind the antics of co-frontman, Pete Doherty, could be in the running for greatest band ever. After abandoning a tour, forming another band called Babyshambles, breaking into a band-mateâ€šÃ„Ã´s home, multiple arrests, and a double drug addiction, you need a sextant and an astrolabe to navigate all the twists this band has taken. Despite the turmoil, The Libertines have managed to hold together to record their self-titled, sophomore album. If youâ€šÃ„Ã´ve ever been waiting to turn at a traffic light, and noticed that your turn signal synchronizes for short intervals with the carâ€šÃ„Ã´s in front of you before once again falling out of synch, then youâ€šÃ„Ã´ll understand how The Libertines plays. At times all the elements come together to justify their hype. The opening track, â€šÃ„ÃºCanâ€šÃ„Ã´t Stand Me Now,â€šÃ„Ã¹ channels the Smiths before breaking loose with a vocal exchange between Doherty and co-frontman, Carl Barat. Its engrossing dynamism works where the meandering â€šÃ„ÃºMusic When the Lights Go Outâ€šÃ„Ã¹ fails. The Clash-inspired â€šÃ„ÃºThe Man Who Would Be King,â€šÃ„Ã¹ and the hyper â€šÃ„ÃºTomblandsâ€šÃ„Ã¹ are other notable successes. But the irritating â€šÃ„ÃºDonâ€šÃ„Ã´t Be Shyâ€šÃ„Ã¹ and the painfully discordant â€šÃ„ÃºArbei Macht Frei,â€šÃ„Ã¹ among others, drag on the album. The result is a release from a band so characterized by its rough intensity that has too many grating moments–a shame as their more refined moments work best. Though the British press touts the quartet as one of the most talented acts around, strip the bandâ€šÃ„Ã´s rock & roll romantics, and The Libertines is an album that is simply too disjointed.