Saturday, 14 July 2007

Stylish Kid in the Riot

As promised,here is the first of my 'influential albums'posts.I'm not sure why I chose to feature The Libertines 'Up the Bracket' first apart from that a few words to say on it have been rattling around my brain for a few weeks.It doesn't seem very 'cool'to like The Libertines now what with the chaos Pete Doherty's life has become and the shambolic disarray of Babyshambles.Since the arrival of the Arctic Monkeys et al it seems the Libertines influence and impact has been woefully overlooked in favour of newer,and in my opinion inferior bands.

Although it took me a little while to pay full attention to the Libertines,once I listened to 'Up the Bracket'properly it seemed ridiculous to have not noticed it before.The sound was so visceral,urgent and raw and the effect was like tearing off a plaster really quickly.I'd go so far as to say it's one of the greatest debut albums I've ever heard and is almost certainly the best from the last 10 years,particularly in England.Most of the time,particularly recently I feel ashamed of English bands who become successful as they often have so little to say and what they do say is painfully embarassing to hear as it usually revolves around drinking tales and little else.Of course The Libertines were drenched in booze and the sleazy trappings of groupies,but more importantly they managed to capture a sense of England in a way that hadn't been seen since the likes of 'Modern Life is Rubbish' and 'Definitely Maybe'.Their sound somehow managed to incorporate punk with something entirely modern and fresh and their influence seems to be ringing out with so many bands now it makes me feel a little nauseous,mainly because most of them have recaptured the sound but not the spirit.

'Time for Heroes'really should be considered a modern classic as it's a majestic song,I always smile at the line "there are fewer more distressing sights than that of an englishman in a baseball hat" followed by the much more striking "yeah we'll die in the class we were born".It is apt too that my memories of this song largely revolve around hearing it whilst travelling through one built up and often grey local region after another.

If you don't appreciate The Libertines and their collosal impact on modern music it's unlikely I've managed to convince you of otherwise with this rather clumsy post,but nevertheless I thought it was important to note that aside from the Pete Doherty circus he helped to create something truly great,even if it did implode pretty quickly.That's not to overlook the involvement of Carl Barat too,who I think is overlooked far too often,particularly as Dirty Pretty Things are awesome,and produced my favourite and most played album of last year,as well as providing me with four sublime gigs within one calendar year.At the moment there's some discussion about if the two will reunite,I'm not sure it could work in the old way but regardless they did something amazing and it's worth remembering the way it felt to hear 'Up the Bracket'a few years ago.


lism. said...

I sometimes get into (good-natured) fights with my friends about the Libertines. I think a lot of them see them (the Libs) as a band that ripped off a lot of the old-school Britpop bands... but, you know what? I never liked the old-school Britpop bands. Sure, at the time they were a fantastic departure from everything else that was around, which is why the people a few years older than me love them so intensely, but for me - no. The Libertines represented that something for me. They were relevant and contemporary and bloody brilliant, and no matter for awful Babyshambles are I still cried in the toilets at the pub the other day when I head "Can't Stand Me Now".

Sorry love, this makes no sense, I am on a cider and Wilco high xx

Sentimental Geek said...

No I understand what you mean...I was in a kind of midpoint I suppose as when I first got into music it was '96,the summer of Britpop and all that so I do have a huge soft spot for that era,but The Libertines still mean a lot to me and represent an entirely different phase of my life.

Gov. Clinton said...

Collosal impact on modern music?

I think not.

Sentimental Geek said...

Yes,well,as I said in my post if you're not a Libertines fan it's unlikely I would convince you otherwise but there are plenty of bands on the current scene who wouldn't have existed or got the attention they have were it not for the Libertines.