When we first interviewed Carl Barat with Dirty Pretty Things in 2006, his first foray outside of The Libertines, he told us that he liked the idea of being in a gang. It was an idea that fellow Libertine Gary Powell also referenced and probably led him to join Barat in the new jam.
Fast forward eleven years and Dirty Pretty Things is no more, The Libertines are back to being a functional band, and Carlos seems to finally have his gang with side project The Jackals. The video for “Burning Cars” finds Barat and pals playing at being hooligans drinking, fighting and burning…well, not cars but pallets. There’s only so much budget.
There’s a quote from Bobby Harlow of the Detroit band the Go where he says, “If you take young guys with shaggy hair and tight pants and baby faces and leather jackets and put them in front of teenagers I think that it just kind of works.”
The Blackwaters may be missing the leather jackets, but they’ve got the rest down to the tee. I rarely wish I was a teenager but this video sure makes it look fun. This song was produced by Carl Barat of the Libertines.
I’m a big Libertines fan. Their 2002 debut Up the Bracket is one of my favorite albums of the millennium so far, and their 2004 self-titled follow up is pretty good, too. Back in the day, I saw the Peteless touring version of the band twice. And while their solo careers haven’t always lived up to their potential, I’ve always held out hope that if they got back together they could rekindle the magic. But realistically, I knew that after this long it was probably going to suck.
Anthems for Doomed Youth doesn’t suck. There are moments that are great, and plenty more that are all right. I need to spend more time with it before I can be sure whether to file it (in my mind) up with the first two albums or down there next to the Babyshambles and Dirty Pretty Things albums.
“Heart Of The Matter” is one of the immediate highlights. With Pete and Carl trading off verses and self-mythologizing/demonizing lyrics, it takes the classic Libs formula and updates it with 10+ years of life experience. The video is corny and the “twist” ending is obvious, but it’s still fun to see these guys go all Reservoir Dogs in a peep show booth. Get it? The audience demands to see celebrities acting badly! Deep as a puddle, but hey, at least it looks pretty cool.
I am generally torn when it comes to my favorite defunct bands reforming. Sure, I am as easily swayed by nostalgia as the next guy, if not more so. But I am also keenly sensitive to the concepts of legacy and expectation, and we all know what can happen to the former if you miss the latter.
And so it’s with cautious optimism that I’ve been waiting for the return of The Likely Lads. The Libertines have been maybe my favorite band of the last 15 years. They personified so much of what I love about music: Punk attitude with smart lyrics and even smarter melodies, all wrapped up in a dream of Albion.
Today marks the beginning of the test with the release of a new video and song, “Gunga Din,” which is somewhat appropriate in the context of the relationship between Peter Doherty and Carl Barat. The Rudyard Kipling poem of the same name is about an English soldier in colonial India and his water carrier, who eventually sacrifices his own life to save the soldier…despite abuse. Without getting too analytical about it, let’s just say the two have had swings of abuse and intense love over the years that seems to have returned to a place of genuine appreciation, respect and brotherly affection.
The video finds our heroes stumbling and sweating their way through crowded streets in what I am guessing is Thailand, where the band wrote most of the new album as Doherty was completing a stint in rehab.
The Libertines - Gunga Din
The 12-track record will be titled Anthems For Doomed Youth and comes out on September 4. Info on the various version is available on the band’s website.
The album was produced by Jake Gosling, best known for his work with Ed Sheeran and One Direction.
It was recorded at Karma Studios in Thailand.
It’s expected to be 11 tracks in length, and it only features one old song, a re-recorded version of “You’re My Waterloo.”
There are synths and piano on the album. Bassist John Hassall joked: “We’ve gone progressive… No, don’t get scared. It’s still The Libertines, but it would be weird if we came back and just did exactly the same thing.”
Pete Doherty claimed that fans “are going to love” the record.
Reminiscent of his first tour with Dirty Pretty Things, Carl played an intimate sold out club to showcase his new album. Carl introduced the crowd to his new material as well as some favourites by Dirty Pretty Things and The Libertines. For some new songs he abandoned the comfort of his guitar and just took on the role of lead singer.
The audience chanted Carl’s name in a style more familiar with the football terraces than a gig, which spurred Carl on to played a full blooded set that exceeded the curfew and sent his fans on their way still chanting, “There’s only one Carl Barat”.
Carl started his twelve-song set with three new songs, including “Run The Boys,” and followed them up with familiar Libertines and Dirty Pretty Things favorites. He spent much of the evening mingling with the crowd and the whole night had a friendly vibe in the legendary venue in the heart of London. The gig was arranged by Little Episodes who raise awareness for those suffering with addiction and depression.
The next time I will see Carl will be at Leeds where he will be reuniting with the Libertines…
New Beginnings. Carl Barat played his third headlining solo gig in a small bar/club in Stockton-on-Tees in North East England. It was a sold out show in a low key venue as he prepares for bigger things in 2009.