The Libertines announced yesterday they are reforming to play the Reading and Leeds festivals in England this summer after six years of drug abuse, squabbling, and mediocre side projects.
The English band, which hasn’t played together since guitarist, singer, and notorious crack (and heroin, and alcohol, and… you get the idea) addict Pete Doherty burglarized his bandmate, Carl Barat’s, apartment looking for drug money. It’s a shame because the band was one of the best from the famed early 2000’s Garage Rock Revolution, with two great albums and a boatload of potential for further glory before spinning out of control.
And boy, oh boy, do I love the band.
I love The Libertines because their ramshackle guitars, raucous singing, and fascination with mythological England combine to create the sort of special, poetic punk rock you don’t hear every day. They took the best parts of early Clash–not surprising considering how Mick Jones produced their two albums–and threw it into a stew with The Smiths and tossed in some Lemonheads for good measure.
I love The Libertines because they opened my early high school mind to the possibility there was much more to music than pop punk. My current favorite band, Arctic Monkeys, would not be here today if it weren’t for the Libs inspiring them to start a band.
I love The Libertines because they are closer than most bands. Where contemporaries The Strokes have devolved into a band of guys who can’t even record their albums together, The Libs have overcome a lot of betrayal on Doherty’s part to still want to make good music. It’s refreshing to see these guys working together–even if it is partly just for the money–to do that.
But mostly I just love The Libertines for the songs. They’re catchy, they have gravitas, and above all else, they’re fun. Here’s one of the many highlights from their first album, Up the Bracket. It’s called “Time For Heroes”. Hopefully they can keep it together and return to being heroes.