6 Jul 2014

What Became of the Likely Lads?

With the Libertines reunited and on top form, we look back at the short lived legacy of this brilliant band.

The Libertines (formed in 1997) consist of Carl Barât and Pete Doherty as the two primary songwriters and frontmen of the band, alongside John Hassall and Gary Powell on bass and drums. They released two studio albums, the first being 'Up The Bracket' in 2002, and the second being 'The Libertines' in 2004. A 'greatest hits' album of sorts was released in 2007 and contains their most loved and famous songs. Both albums had huge success and the singles released charted high consistently, with the highest being Can't Stand Me Now and What Became Of The Likely Lads? which were the Libertines final two singles. (as of today) After splitting in 2004 not too long after the release of their second album due to a mass of problems concerning Doherty's heavy drug use and unreliability and the two frontmen not communicating for over 9 months, it was released in 2010 that they would reunite for a single show at Reading and Leeds Festival. After that show, a full reunion was highly anticipated but nothing came of it until earlier this year when the band announced they would reform to play London's Hyde Park. A handful of other shows have been announced including two nights in Glasgow and a full Europe tour, with rumours of new material also circulating. As a huge fan of this band the promise of possible new material is a dream come true.

Up The Bracket (2002)

The first studio album from this band came five years after their official formation, and was greeted with a fantastic reception. The first track Vertigo works as the perfect opening to this superb album, showcasing not only the musical skill of this quartet, but the lyrical brilliance of the Doherty and Barat combination. The second track is my personal favourite Libertines song ever. Death On The Stairs is just a great rock song, and I am praying that this is on the setlist for Hyde Park. The rest of the album contains some of the greats like Horrorshow, Time For Heroes, Up The Bracket and Tell The King. This album as a whole is just 36 minutes of 4 lads having a bloody good time, doing what they do best, and it is still regarded as one of the best album released in the past few decades. 

The Libertines (2004)
This album really showed off just how good this band were. Although it came in the same year that this band split up, it was definitely some of their best ever material. It contains the anthem What Became Of The Likely Lads? along with a ton of other hits, and also has one of the most iconic images of The Libertines ever taken as the album cover. It contains the tracks Can't Stand Me Now (which has been said to be a representation of Doherty and Barat's relationship during the recording period) and the fantastic track What Katie Did, which was supposedly written about Kate Moss, who Doherty had a very exposed relationship with. Not only did this album propel the London boys into the spotlight, it also showcased Doherty's spiraling drug abuse into the same spotlight, casting a negative light over the band which has been said to be the main factor in their split at the end of 2004. 

The Split (2004)

Both Carl Barat and Pete Doherty had been starting side projects around the beginning of 2004 which contributed to the split, however it was not the main cause. Pete's overpowering drug addiction caused huge tensions between him and the rest of the band, especially Carl, who went on to be the one who dissolved the Libertines as a group as he refused to tour or make albums under the name without Doherty by his side.

Hyde Park (2014)

As I am writing this, I'm on a fully fledged high from last night (5th July) when I got to experience the most phenomenal gig ever. Watching the Libertines play to 60,000 in London's Hyde Park was not only amazing because of the gig and the band and the songs, but the atmosphere it all created. The crowd was incredible where we were watching from, and although Doherty and Barat had to stop and restart the gig about 4/5 times due to excessive crowd crushing at the front, it seemed that everyone was having the best time ever. A few idiots decided to climb the delay towers, once again causing the gig to grind to a hault, but once that was all over the gig began again and threw everyone into a frenzy from start to finish. A massively high-energy gig from the band and crowd alike, and easily one of the best gigs I have ever been too. Personal highlights included What Katie Did, Don't Look Back Into The Sun, Death On The Stairs and I Get Along (purely for the moment that the 60,000 people audience erupted with 'FUCK 'EM.' )

The Future? 

With a headline slot at Benicassim Festival coming up, and two recently announced shows at London's Alexandra Palace in September alongside a European Tour who knows what the Libertines will do next? New Songs? Maybe. UK Tour? Hopefully. All I know is that this band are back, and better than ever, and I for one am bloody happy about that. Pete and Carl back together is a combination like no other.