The Libertines | Up the Bracket | Rating: 10/11 | Reviewed by: Jennifer F. |
The Libertines’ first full length album, Up the Bracket, was released in the States’ in March of 2003. This British band has no trouble grabbing the listeners attention with the opening track, “Vertigo,” and holding that interest until the end of the last hidden track, “Mocking Bird.” The entire record is filled with catchy guitar riffs that blend perfectly with the drums and vocals. The up-tempo album can be listened to exclusively for each instrument on its own, the experience gets better with each spin. When you listen exclusively to the drums, you find that they are never repetitive and always infectious. On the next spin, while listening to the guitars, you’ll find that they provide varied and captivating riffs that range from slower acoustic to garage sounding electric licks.
The lyrics and vocals themselves require more than one listen. Up the Bracket carries a parental advisory for explicit content and for good reason; this isn’t an album for the kids. The common theme throughout the CD is the fast-paced life of a rock band in New York City. In the track, “Begging,” they sing, “All animals we are round the bench, in the park your sisters in the dark today. Watery pinned eyes, my soul has gone a little cold … Now he’s crossing the road, picking up his daily … sport … Remember when you pay, you’ll pay in many many ways.” These lyrics are not only unpredictable and not overly produced, they’re also sung with an urgency and an imperfection that gives more meaning and respectability to the tracks. There is also an ode to a groupie entitled, “Boys in the Band.” The CD sleeve, filled with collaged images of the band, drawings, handwritten and typed lyrics, naked women, drinks, etc, works well for this record and it shows the listener what they can expect to hear with the listening of the album.
The Libertines have their own sound that combines rock, pop, funk, and blues into a harmonious mixture. Some of the best tracks on the album are “Vertigo,” “Death on the Stairs,” “Begging,” and “What a Waster.” These songs incorporate well played guitar and drum solos that only add to the uniquely written and sung lyrics. Up the Bracket is musically and lyrically speaking a great album and a must have for everyone’s collection.