2 Jul 2015

The Libertines / Gunga Din (single review)



THIS IS THE LIBERTINES' FIRST SINGLE IN OVER TEN YEARS. IT'S REASON TO BE EXCITED, RIGHT? Well, I'll kick off the review by saying I'm really cynical, and if this single was crap, I'd go out and say it. There's no real point in sugarcoating The Libertines' return if they're just going to regurgitate tired, third-rate Dirty Pretty Things songs at us, okay?

So going into the radio stream of Gunga Din, something I've heard in a live environment (from the comfort of my own home though) already, I wasn't overly optimistic. It didn't sound GREAT at Glastonbury, did it? It sounded better than the other new one, but it wasn't exactly a trailblazing out and out single, really.

But rather pleasantly, the new track is, well, it's not a definite single, but it's actually a really strong song. It's very classically Libertines, with a kinda of slow-strutting reggae bassline. It starts of with a Doherty voice, his voice - I might add - is every bit as good as it was back on Horrorshow, and it's really quite nice. Carl takes the second verse though, and it's not quite as good; it's a bit crass with it's ham-fisted lyrics. But y'know, this is fun, and it's definitely the Libertines at their, well, it's them doing music well.

This isn't really the greatest song ever, but it's promising; it's instilled a bit of hope for their forthcoming album Anthems for doomed youth, which I was really worried would be a bit of a car crash. It's a bit messy (they've got One Direction's producer, so I was worried it'd be a bit too clean), and it's straightforward, and well, like the title of the album it shows that the band are kinda dumbing down their lit a bit; the Rudyard Kipling poem from this track's title, and the Wilfred Owen poem from which the album takes it's name from are like, GCSE literature, where The Libertines were on degree level shit when they were at their best.

But I don't want to make a judgement on what's to come solely on that; The Libertines are back, and if the rest is this good, WE'LL EMBRACE THE LIBERTINES AND ALL THEY DO THIS YEAR, okay? They're one of the greatest indie bands of the century, and if they can keep up tracks being about this good, my 11 year old self will be VERY HAPPY.


(WRITTEN BY CALUM CASHIN)