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The Libertines - All Quiet on the Eastern Esplanade (Album Review)

Thursday, 11 April 2024 Written by Matthew McLister

Photo: Ed Cooke

That The Libertines are still producing music 20 years after their initial break up is nothing short of a miracle. Pete Doherty and Carl Barat’s relationship deteriorated so much during the process of making their second album that the band’s future appeared permanently dashed. 

But sporadic reunions, culminating in 2015’s patchy ‘Anthems For Doomed Youth’, have led us to a place of relative calm. Nine years later there is cause for celebration with ‘All Quiet The Eastern Esplanade’ a gratifying fourth album that is sonically exploratory while remaining true to the group’s swashbuckling indie heart.

A shabby sort of elegance swallows many of these tracks, with the band enjoying a wider range of stylistic influences than before.

A smoky, jazz club vibe surrounds Baron’s Claw and they boldly sample Tchaikovsky on the violent crime narrative Night Of The Hunter, while the lush ballad Man With the Melody allows all four members — including bassist John Hassall and drummer Gary Powell — their chance on lead vocals for the first time.

Back in the day, The Libertines romanticised a forgotten version of Blighty but two decades on they’ve refreshed their palette with some contemporary social issues. On the eerie album highlight Shiver their emotions are confused in the aftermath of the Queen’s death, while The Doors-esque Merry Old England provides a welcome to modern day immigrants. And Mustangs has Barat sing about an alcoholic mother called Traci who’s decked out in a “Juicy Couture tracksuit”.

That’s not to say their chaotic style has been completely abandoned, though. Run Run Run is an infectious and charming intro, while Oh Shit and I Have A Friend find us on the same sweaty dancefloor as Don’t Look Back Into The Sun. ‘All Quiet The Eastern Esplanade’ won’t rival their early legend, but by mixing mature sounds with familiar playfulness, The Libertines prove there’s life in the old dog yet.

The Libertines Upcoming Tour Dates are as follows:

Sun July 28 2024 - BRIGHTON Beach
Sun September 22 2024 - CORK Cyprus Avenue
Mon September 23 2024 - DUBLIN 3Olympia Theatre
Tue September 24 2024 - BELFAST Telegraph Building
Wed September 25 2024 - LIMERICK Live At The Big Top
Thu October 03 2024 - BIRMINGHAM O2 Academy Birmingham
Fri October 04 2024 - NORWICH UEA
Sat October 05 2024 - CAMBRIDGE Corn exchange
Mon October 07 2024 - CARDIFF University Great Hall
Tue October 08 2024 - BRISTOL O2 Academy Bristol
Thu October 17 2024 - GLASGOW Barrowland
Fri October 18 2024 - GLASGOW Barrowland
Sat October 19 2024 - LIVERPOOL Mountford Hall
Mon October 21 2024 - NOTTINGHAM Rock City
Tue October 22 2024 - LEEDS O2 Academy Leeds
Wed October 30 2024 - LONDON Roundhouse
Thu October 31 2024 - LONDON Roundhouse
Fri November 01 2024 - LONDON Roundhouse
Mon November 04 2024 - SHEFFIELD Octagon
Tue November 05 2024 - NEWCASTLE UPON TYNE NX
Thu November 07 2024 - MANCHESTER Albert Hall
Fri November 08 2024 - MANCHESTER Albert Hall
Sat November 09 2024 - MANCHESTER Albert Hall
Sun November 17 2024 - LINCOLN Engine Shed
Mon November 18 2024 - STOCKTON Globe
Wed November 20 2024 - BATH Forum
Thu November 21 2024 - BOURNEMOUTH O2 Academy Bournemouth

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