The three pillars of a "real" band -- sex, drugs, and rock 'n' roll -- have eroded significantly in recent years. Thankfully, the Libertines are bringing back all that was dirty and appealing about being a rock star. They have an iconoclastic singer who also has, infamously, a drug problem. They ooze sex with every word, every hair-flip. They play carefree, mindless, disorganized rock 'n' roll. And they sound great. This, the follow-up to 2002's Up the Bracket, is produced by the Clash's Mick Jones, which might explain why this band of Brits sounds so disturbingly like the Clash. It also may explain why the record is fantastically packed with what music has been missing lately: straightforward, punchy tunes with a hooky chorus you can sing at the top of your lungs in a pub, surrounded by smashed friends doing the same. Tracks like the anthemic "The Ha Ha Wall," the bouncing "Tomblands," and the confessional "Can't Stand Me Now" are pure guilty pleasures in their ramshackle simplicity.
What makes The Libertines great is its very imperfections -- every song is a just a little ... off. But the real situations the band draws from, coupled with the group's inherent volatility, has given the Libertines fantastic lyrical inspiration and raw character, which is also what will keep you coming back.
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