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The Libertines
THE LIBERTINES
(Rough Trade)

The Libertinesí second album is saturated with self-mockery; itís an intentional effect that feels especially appropriate given that Peter Doherty ó the bandís primary songwriter and now an ex-member ó escaped a jail sentence the same week this CD topped the charts in Great Britain. Despite sordid band dramas, the Libertines seem to revel in the gritty aftertaste of the hype thatís been heaped upon their brand of angular post-punk in their homeland. "Canít Stand Me Now" is actually sunnier and more melodic than the breakout single "Up the Bracket," from the quartetís debut CD. But on "Last Post on the Bungle," with its clap-along drum beats, the charming pop disappears into a muddled garage-rock vortex that channels influences from the Smiths to the Buzzcocks. "The Man Who Would Be King" and "Campaign of Hate" are the real art-damaged standouts. "Ha Ha Wall," on the other hand, reads as if it might have been copied from Dohertyís sloppy tour journal; "Itís been a long war, now weíre tired and dirty/Still not dirty enough for you," he slurs. Producer and former Clash guitarist Mick Jones guides the proceedings with the wisdom of having been through it all before. This shaky step ó or perhaps itís an endearing, drunken stumble ó forward may get the Libertines laughed at, but they sound strong enough to survive the giggles.

BY SHARON STEEL


Issue Date: October 22 - 28, 2004
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