Review: “Anthems For Doomed Youth” a satisfying return for The Libertines

3.5 OUT OF 5 NUTS!

anthemsfordoomedyouthThe cover of The Libertines’ new album Anthems For Doomed Youth can be interpreted in different ways, and yet each one of them is fitting considering where the band is now and what they’ve been through.

The band is pictured with their backs to the camera looking off into the horizon at what appears to be a sunset. It could come to symbolize that they have put the past behind them and are moving towards the future, or maybe it will come to serve as a symbol of the band riding off into that sunset. Either way, The Libertines are back with their third album, against all odds, and it’s quite good to hear from them again.

The band has admitted that the fact that they were able to come together and put out another album after more than 10 years is miraculous, and while the final result falls just a bit short of their classic material, it’s indeed a successful rebirth. Anthems For Doomed Youth also shows a band that has matured and is aging gracefully (the band members are now in their mid-30s with drummer Gary Powell at age 45) and has, hopefully, moved past their days of internal tensions and drug addiction.

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What happened in the past is a topic explored on Anthems For Doomed Youth. On “Gunga Din,” Pete Doherty, who finished a stint in rehab in January, sings honestly about his addiction:

Woke up again to my chagrin
Getting sick and tired of feeling sick and tired again
I tried to write, because I got the right
To make it look as if I’m doing something with my life
Got to find a vein, it’s always the same
And a drink to ease the panic and the suffering

On “Anthem For Doomed Youth”, the band takes a softer, gentler tone and contemplates the future:

Life could be so handsome
Life could be okay
We’re going nowhere
But nowhere, nowhere’s on our way

The band can still belt out some catchy rockers too, as shown on “Barbarians” and “Glasgow Coma Scale Blues”:

Much of the album is fairly strong with quality songwriting, and there’s not really a bad song on here, although there’s an occasional song that doesn’t quite reach the heights of what The Libertines are capable of. It’s not Up the Bracket in terms of quality or energy, but give it a few listens and you’ll find plenty to enjoy on Anthems For Doomed Youth and several songs that at least come very close to the more famous Libertines songs of yesteryear.

What the future holds for The Libertines is anyone’s guess, but Anthems For Doomed Youth proves that the band still has much to offer after a decade away. Whether it proves to be a step forward or a one-time reunion, Anthems For Doomed Youth is worth getting into, whether you’re a longtime fan or a new one.

Anthems For Doomed Youth comes in a regular edition and a deluxe edition that features four extra songs. Those songs are good enough to warrant buying the deluxe edition over the regular edition.

Release Date: September 11, 2015

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