Sound — 9
The Libertines are always bandied about as the original "noughties" indie pop band, which, having only heard Don't Look Back Into the Sun and Can't Stand Me Now I always assumed was the case. Nonetheless, Up The Bracket demonstrates that there is alot more to the Libertines than this. The album opens with Vertigo, a straightforward rock number powered by a surf guitar lick that steadily builds into a maelstrom of jangling noise. It is in these kinds of songs that the libertines are in their element, energetic and defiant, but most of all, fun. However, they have more tricks up their sleeves, as demonstrated by the slow and poignant Radio America or the vintage punk rock of I get Along (Mick Jones' influence coming through?). Then there's The Good Old Days, a song that is perhaps too epic for it's own good.
Lyrics — 9
As is the case for any indie fan, my expectations are high when it comes to lyrics, but Pete does not disappoint. Time For Heroes echoes with beautiful wordplays (we'll die in the class we were born, but that's a class of our own my love) and scathing observations (did you see the stylish kids in the riot?). Elsewhere, the lyrics are equally powerful, with the chorus line of the Good Old days (it chars my heart to always hear you calling for the good old days, because there were no good old days) my personal Favourite. At times, there are moments of pretension, in particular when the lyrics take a political or philosophical turn and the less said about "the good ship Albion" the better. These minor things aside, Up The Bracket contains lyrics that wouldn't look at all out of place in a book of poetry (apt considering Pete is a published poet).
Overall Impression — 9
Considering the bland, uninspired dirge of landfill indie that followed in their wake, it is pleasantly surprising to find that The Libertines are both interesting and original. Not only are their songs at times quite unconventionally structured, but the Lo-Fi recording techniques add a fresh, DIY feel to their music that will remind many of a time when indie music was a distinctly underground affair. Overall though, what really makes this album great is the youthful energy that drives every song (an energy that is completely missing from any of Pete's solo efforts) and for that reason alone, it's worth a listen.