Release Date: Aug 31, 2004
Record label: Sanctuary
Genre(s): Indie, Rock
On paper it sounds horribly calculated, but (also like the Strokes' debut) in practice it's at once fresh and familiar. Mick Jones' warm, not-too-rough, and not-too-polished production both emphasizes the pedigree of their sound and the originality of it: on songs like "Vertigo," "Death on the Stairs," and the excellent "Boys in the Band," the guitars switch between Merseybeat chime and a garagey churn as the vocals range from punk snarls to pristine British Invasion harmonies. Capable of bittersweet beauty on the folky, Beatlesque "Radio America" and pure attitude on "Horrorshow," the Libertines really shine when they mix the two approaches and let their ambitions lead the way.
It's no surprise that the Libertines have become one of the most infamous bands in Britain. Theirs is the great rock'n'roll story of our times, a saga of drugs and shots at self-destruction to match any of the legendary tales of excess passed down from the 1960s. More than that, theirs is a great love story, an exquisitely painful romance of two self-proclaimed soulmates who can't live together yet can't live apart.