TEST SPIN: The Libertines — Anthems for Doomed Youth


Long ago, the Libertines released two of the absolute best rock records of the last decade: 2002’s near-flawless Up the Bracket and 2004’s messy but brilliant The Libertines. Since the band’s breakup, equal-part frontmen Pete Doherty and Carl Barât have each explored subsequent careers as the frontmen of Babyshambles and Dirty Pretty Things, respectively. However, while both of these projects have produced some excellent music, neither came close to equalling the brilliant, calamitous poetry of those two Libertines records. Anthems for Doomed Youth, which has arrived over ten years after the last Libertines album, is a hugely exciting prospect for the cult of Libertines fans — but anyone hoping for an equal of those two absolutely vital records should lower their expectations. While it’s pleasant in and of itself to hear Barât and Doherty alternating verses and harmonizing again, Anthems is a decidedly more low-key affair than the Libertines’ past work.