2 Aug 2014

Should The Libertines Bother With A Third Album?

The Libertines' reunions, quite like the World Cup, arrive every four years. But this time they seem pretty serious about the whole getting back together business. I mean, they've played some successful shows; not just Hyde Park, but the four-piece have been off around Europe to play bits and bobs from their back catalogue to huge crowds. But at these shows, the 'Libs' have also debuted a new song or two, and there's even talk about a third album in the pipeline, but is that really a very good idea? Really?

Well, history dictates this kind of thing generally isn't up to much. Pixies' Indie Cindy, which came out earlier this year was pretty naff, and there are lots of examples of crap comeback albums here there and everywhere. A few years back, The Stooges (who I'd acknowledge as an all time great) released an album of sorts that was instantly forgettable. In 2008, Bauhaus released their first album in 25 or so years, and that was... well, let's not even go there. And on top of those two, everyone from Rage Against the Machine to Blondie to The Verve have released disappointing albums after a lengthy absense. So, could it be the same for The Libertines?

Well, the Libertines have released two albums that are both seminal, and to some people, great. So, a shoddy Libs style Forth type album would be a great black spot on the history of one of the most iconic bands of the 21st century.

And of course, the first two Libs albums were made in a whirlwind of Barat-Doherty chemistry. Whilst the pairing appear to have made up, will the spark ever be there again? It just wouldn't be the same, would it? A third LP would almost certainly be devoid of any of the things that made the Libertines so special. It would lack tales of the fights and the nights and the blue lights, and well; if it did feature said tales, they'd almost certainly be insincere and forced in some kind of attempt to make a Libertinesy record.

But above all, would the quality be up to much? I mean, what are Pete and Carl's last few Libs-free projects like? Well, I absolutely ADORE Carl Barat's Dirty Pretty Things stuff, but that's almost old news. I mean, Waterloo to Anywhere came out well over 8 years ago. And his 2010 solo album, Carl Barat, whilst being alright was only alright. Nothing special. Nothing offensive. Just alright.

And, whilst people will begrudge me for saying so, it's exactly the same story with Doherty. The first Babyshambles album was undeniably top notch; it created the kind of illusion that Pete wasn't just the bloke from The Libertines, but also some kind of enigmatic genius that could work anywhere else in the musical world. But from there, it's all somewhat disappointing. The other Babyshambles albums personify 6/10 ratings, and his solo album was even more dull. Since the Libertines split, both members haven't really done anything great. So maybe, just maybe, a new Libertines album could be just the ticket to catapult the duo back into the driving seat. It could be just what the doctor ordered.

But again, you've got to question Doherty in particular's motives for making a new album. Does the man want to make another great musical work, or does he just need £££ to shoot up with? Well, that's not for you or I to say, but I don't think it'd be wrong to be cynical at this stage.

But of course, as anyone who saw them in Hyde Park, or indeed Portugal and Spain will tell you that the four-piece were seemingly at their best, and playing together as a band again. So maybe, just maybe the talked about spark that was there before is there again, and the Libertines are all set to make a comeback album just as great as Roky Erickson's or Mazzy Star's in  recent years. And above all, who really cares about the 'legacy' of the Libertines, that's an awfully conceited way to look at the Libertines, isn't it? If the music's good, who cares? Either way, it's exciting to see what they'll come up with.