The Libertines – Up The Bracket

Folder

  • Released: 2002 on Rough Trade Records
  • Produced by: Mick Jones
  • Genre: Garage Rock Revival

Up The Bracket was the album that made The Libertines thrilling for all the right reasons, apart from their beguiling 19th century English romantic-wastrel image and the songwriting partnership of Pete Doherty and Carl Barât, before the drugs, internal politics and bad press forced the band into increasingly rapid decline. You probably already know the nasty gossip, so I’ll just skip those bits and head over to the review.

On their debut, the first half of the music is pure, anarchic joy –  Horrorshow is a blitzing feedback of scratchy, dueling guitars, drums, and bass that engage in a furious tug of war in the middle of the song, as if to pull the song apart into bloody bits of flesh.Then there’s the rickety, just-been-round-the-pub vibes of Radio America, with some equally knock-about acoustic guitar playing, and the Strokes-baiting commentary of The Boy Looked At Johnny…which is ironic in hindsight since they were getting lumped into the same category as these folks back then.

Unfortunately, the album just pans out into blank rock territory towards the end, which is a real shame. Begging lacks the sweaty, scumbag atmosphere that made the first half of the album genuinely exciting to listen to.

Still, it’s a lovely introduction to these boys, who have now reformed after spending various stints in other bands. Thank god for that – I think Doherty and Barât pretty much belong together, in terms of musical partnership!

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