Best of 2004: #7 -- The Libertines The Libertines
Of all the albums I heard in in 2004, none made more of an immediately favorable impression on my hair-stuffed ears than the self-titled second release from the U.K.'s mercurial Libertines. Having not ever listened to their 2002 debut, Up the Bracket, I really had no idea what to expect, other than to brace myself for what some reviewers had termed a sloppy trainwreck of a band fronted by a self-destructive psychotic.
But what I hear whenever I listen to The Libertines is not wretched chaos, rather glorious and unbridled musical shenanigans. Everytime I spin "What Katie Did," I can't help but visualize a rowdy pack of drunken groomsmen staging a coup and overthrowing the house band at a wedding reception, in order to perform their own tipsy toast to the blushing-with-embarrassment bride. Perhaps the moment that best defines The Libertines is the final third of "Campaign of Hate," which chugs along faster and faster until it finally careens off the rails completely. Just like that song, the rest of The Libertines is a white knuckle thrill ride you'll want to take again and again.