“Don’t touch me, you’re a marked man now/ You can say goodbye to the last gang in town,” rasps Carl Barât on the opening song, Glory Days, kicking off 35 minutes of punky swagger that reignites the Libertinesesque notion of bands being blood brothers. Having said that, the “gang” on this record is pretty much Barât himself: he recorded most of Let it Reign before the Jackals existed. So the album’s themes are ones he’s explored before, scratched into 10 brief, snarling tracks. There’s the friendship-never-ends shout-out, seemingly aimed at Pete Doherty (War of the Roses), the guttural, Clash-like homage to first world war servicemen (Glory Days), the quickstep punk sermon comparing the heroic Albion of his daydreams to the hedonistic London outside his front door (Summer in the Trenches). Barât sounds motivated throughout, pausing for breath halfway through on the nostalgic swoon of Beginning to See. This feels like a placeholder for the forthcoming Libertines album, but, as placeholders go, it’s a stormer.
Caroline Sullivan writes about rock and pop for the Guardian