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The Libertines [the Libertines] [1 Disc] [5050159816620
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  • Hailed as England's answer to the Strokes, the Libertines do tread the same garage-y punk-pop path as their American brethren. Fuzzed-out guitars, ragged rock rhythms, and radiant hooks abound on their self-titled sophomore effort, as on their debut, UP THE BRACKET. But while the Stooges and NUGGETS-style raunch can be heard, it is the influence of native ancestors that distinguishes the band's music. Traces of the Kinks, and early Beatles and Rolling Stones can be heard ("Don't Be Shy"), as well as cheeky '50s throwbacks ("What Katie Did"), lager-fueled pub rockers ("Tomblands"), and arch social satire ("The Man Who Would Be King")
  • Another key to the Libertines' success is their use of dynamics. While THE LIBERTINES rocks, it does so in a low-key, understated way. "Music When the Lights Go Out," driven by acoustic guitar, alternates dreamy, ambling verses with a punchy refrain. The minor-key rocker "Last Post on the Bugle" is so gently melodic that its edge seems incidental. There are exceptions, of course, as on the old-school punk thrash of "Arbeit Macht Frei." Appealing and familiar, yet freshly presented, THE LIBERTINES is a very strong entry in the garage revival of the early 2000s.
Professional Reviews
Rolling Stone (12/25/03, p.108) - Included in Rolling Stone's "50 Best Albums of 2003" - "...The thrill is hearing the Libertines try--not too hard--to keep it together..."

Rolling Stone (p.79) - 3 1/2 stars out of 5 - "[N]o band in recent history has better captured the vertiginous experience of falling apart and loving it."

Rolling Stone (p.146) - Included in Rolling Stone's Top 50 Records Of 2004 - "[T]he Libs still sound like a gloriously combustible rock & roll mess..."

Spin (5/03, p.109) - "...This is music to play in dark, velvety, womblike bars; this is music to play while buying cigarettes....If the Libertines represent the first wave of well-Stroked clone bands, we are optimistic..." - Grade: A

Spin (p.115) - "[A] dark, tense record, but one still crackling with life." - Grade: A-

Spin (p.64) - Ranked #30 in Spin's "40 Best Albums of the Year" - "Barat concludes this beautiful train wreck with a warm-hearted yet cold-eyed three-song intervention..."

Q (11/03, p.136) - 4 stars out of 5 - "...This lot splutter like unsafe fireworks. They could and should be huge..."

Q (p.108) - 4 stars out of 5 - "[B]rimming with character, easily surpassing their debut, its energy level like a battery charge."

Uncut (p.128) - "[L]ike The Clash's LONDON CALLING before it, repeat listenings reveal an endless succession of gorgeous hooks, spindly solos and tunes to hum forever."

Uncut (p.94) - 5 stars out of 5 - "If rock 'n' roll is all about freedom and the consequences that come with that, there's never been a better handbook."

Uncut (p.74) - Ranked #22 in Uncut's "Best New Albums of 2004" - "[Their] punk discharges on love, drugs and mutual loathing sound beautifully, if brutally, honest."

Magnet (p.114) - "[T]he catchy THE LIBERTINES mostly proves the Brits have always taken their pop much more seriously than we ever have."

CMJ (p.8) - "At their best, the Libertines are a band worthy of the overseas claims that they're the next Kinks or Jam."

Mojo (Publisher) (p.60) - Ranked #57 in Mojo's "100 Modern Classics" -- "The Libertines slap you in the chops like a Francis Bacon painting."

Mojo (Publisher) (p.94) - 4 stars out of 5 - "[A]n extraordinary, challenging second LP, suffused with tenderness and anger..."
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