The Libertines: All Quiet On The Eastern Esplanade [Album Review]

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The Libertines
All Quiet On The Eastern Esplanade
Casablanca/Republic Records [2024]

Album Overview: The Libertines, known for their tumultuous past of infighting, implosions, and unruliness, are back together with a surprise album in 2024 titled All Quiet On The Eastern Esplanade. Because of their unsteady past, any record from The Libertines is considered a welcome surprise. The last time we heard from The Libertines was in 2015 with Anthems For Doomed Youth. For me, it attempted to recapture the magic of their stellar 2002 debut Up The Bracket but now serves as a perfect bridge between different eras of The Libertines. The quartet, dispersed across various locations, reunited to create All Quiet On The Eastern Esplanade, bonding over the renovation of the Palm Court Hotel in Margate, which became their residential studio. Their creative sanctuary at The Albion Rooms facilitated a rare unity among the members and produced this more mature and focused Libertines record.

Musical Style: The album showcases a diverse range of musical styles, blending punky aural anarchy with newfound sophistication. While retaining their feral energies, The Libertines explore punk-pop fury reminiscent of their early work alongside stately, orchestral arrangements. Their sound evokes elements of punk, pop, and rock, delivering a dynamic listening experience.

Evolution of Sound: From their early days capturing youthful ferocity with Mick Jones to collaborating with French-born producer Dimitri Tikovoï, The Libertines have evolved their sound while staying true to their roots. Incorporating wall of sound orchestral arrangements and exploring a broader musical palette, they demonstrate growth and maturity in their songwriting. The band can still write a fantastically catchy hook.

Artists with Similar Fire: While each artist is unique, The Libertines’ blend of punk, pop, and rock echoes the spirit of bands like The Clash, The Cribs, Shame, and Fontaines D.C.. Their raw energy and lyrical storytelling draw parallels to other indie rock acts, appealing to fans of Arctic Monkeys and The Strokes.

Pivotal Tracks: Key tracks on the album include “Run, Run Run” and “Oh Shit,” which reignite the band’s punk-pop fury. Both of these tracks are super strong and capture The Libertines’ style perfectly. “Baron’s Claw” stands out with its mellow stroll and haunting vocals, while the closing “Songs They Never Play On The Radio” showcases The Libertines’ enduring songwriting sweet spot.

Lyrical Strength: The album’s lyrics handle contemporary issues such as war, environmental catastrophe, and the immigrant experience in Brexit Britain. With a mix of topical themes and storytelling, The Libertines explore characters and situations, from irredeemable hedonists to cautionary tales of misguided individuals. Their lyrical depth adds richness to their already captivating sound as they clearly are a veteran act at this point in their career.

Anthems For Doomed Youth (2015)

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Christopher Anthony
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