"Remarriage" of the Libertine Couple - An Album Review

  It has been almost twelve years since an Indie Year Zero came along in 2003. Or in other words, the beginning of 21st century rock. A bunch of guys made wearing tight jeans and leather jackets on stage mandatory and produced some of the most exciting music in years. Thriving on the whimsical dreaming of Albion and Arcadia, The Libertines attracted their most dedicated fanbase with their poetic expression within the genre of rock n’ roll.

The myths surrounding the British guitar band consists of breaking up for drug addiction in 2008, committing street crimes dressed up in silly jackets, more drugs, and remarriage.  

The relationship of Carl and Pete has always gathered the most attention for the band. They’ve never officially claimed their relationship was more than friendship but the bromance was always there. The other two band members, John on bass and Gary on drums, somewhat fade into the background. Pete Doherty is the hopeless romantic poet of the group, mumbling Rimbaud and Wordsworth quotes. He dated Kate Moss and Amy Winehouse but seemed to still have himself eternally bound with Carl. The two clash on stage, yet also sing into the same mic so close that they could almost kiss each other. Carl and Pete also promised to commit suicide together if they didn’t make it before the age of 25. “Glory or death” they promised each other.

In their new album Anthems For Doomed Youths, the band flips through the present and past, presenting acute nostalgia for the old days and where they are now at this stage of their lives. The new version of "You’re My Waterloo" hints at the cyclical nature of life due to Pete’s heartfelt repetitions of the line “You’re my waterloo." The original lyrics of the song from their second album released in 2004 haven’t been changed: “You’re my Waterloo/I will be your Stanley Park,"... “You’re the only lover I had who had slept with a knife." Many fans suspect that the title and the lyrics are about Carl.

As Carl addressed in an interview at the NME Awards 2015 in Austin, “We've started it, we haven't spent a great deal of time on it yet. We're just getting our friendships back on track and getting on the same page. We've been apart from a long time but not much has really changed really."

The song "Glasgow Coma Scale Blues" also speaks of their relationship and the two create a dialogue with Pete’s line, “you think it’s easy/With a best friend who deceives me” and Carl’s response, "the only thing that kept it going on was lust for companionship, whiskey and song/How could it go wrong?” The Glasgow coma scale is mostly known as the measure of human consciousness, but it could also be a comment on the once lifeless condition of Carl and Pete’s friendship.

The reunion of the band, who once dedicated themselves to the hedonism and the grime of London’s nightlife, produced their new album, Anthems For Doomed Youths, possibly in remembrance of their past. While their middle-aged figures made them look like misfits on the stage when they first performed the new album in Nottingham, they still have songs, such as “Anthem For Doomed Youth” that relate to the many doomed teenagers out there.

The band doesn't just replicate the indie rock feel from their last two albums, but actually makes an effort on new instrumentation and mixes in some new elements, such as reggae and more sophisticated melodies. The album is a well-produced reunion album, and cheesy enough for you to believe Carl and Pete belong to each other.  

A&EOlive Jin