“A third Libertines album once seemed about as likely as a fifth Smiths LP” said Pitchfork back in 2015.
Two years on and The Smiths are no closer to reforming. The Libertines on the other hand – they’ve back with a vengeance.
Concerns the reunion was a cash cow were alleviated with the announcement of a new album – their first in 11 years.
The “likely lads” sophomore record (‘The Libertines’) was the sound of a band candidly unravelling in stereo. The long awaited follow up (‘Anthems for Doomed Youth’) is where those old wounds are stitched back together again. It’s a turbulent flight from Thailand (where Doherty completed rehab) back to Arcadia.
Newer tracks like ‘Gunga Din’ spin a familiar yarn to classics like ‘Up the Bracket’. However, instead of the grey smog of Vallance Road, we’re dragged through the bustling streets of Bangkok – this time in technicolour.
A triumphant secret set at Glastonbury 2015 saw a band revived. They appeared more unified than they had in years. More importantly, The Libertines looked like they were having fun again. There was a palpable feeling afterwards that this might actually last.
Fast forward two years and it was a Libertines show in May where the ‘Oh Jeremy Corbyn!’ chant heard all across Glastonbury started. Libertines fans know more than ever it’s a ‘Time for Heroes‘ so expect similar scenes at The Brighton Centre.
Speaking of the ‘Tiddeley Om Pom Pom Tour’, Carl Barat said: “We’re looking for a home, one roof for the many splendored trappings of Arcady, a factory, with a guest house, bar and studio. We do like to be beside the seaside and we hope to find that home on this tour… watch this space…”
A Libertines record, still more likely than a Smiths LP it seems. The Albion sails on course.
If you fancy the after party, you can pop next door where Carl Barat will be doing a DJ set at PRYZM. Tickets are available here or on the door.
The Brighton Centre, Monday 2nd October 2017
Words by Andy Baker