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Album Review: The Libertines' "All Quiet On The Eastern Esplanade"

Updated: Apr 28

*Piece written for Off The Record Press

It’s been nearly ten years since UK phenomenons The Libertines released a new album, and they’ve shocked everyone with their comeback. Last October, they announced their fourth studio album, “All Quiet On The Eastern Esplanade.” For many people, this band is reminiscent of early 2000s garage rock and tracks filled with distorted guitars, and The Libertines have not failed to make us all nostalgic of that in 2024. Right off the bat, the opening track ‘Run Run Run’ brings the indie-rock lovers to the edge of their seats. It stands as one of the most catchy on the album and immediately gives the sense that the band has matured since their angsty teenage years.

Much of this album seems to be looking back in time and analyzing the world as well as working through mistakes and advising the future generations to live to the fullest. The lyrics of ‘Oh Shit’ certainly reflect this, saying “What’s it even matter / You’re just young and in love.” It recites the ups and downs of being broke and falling in love, which were things that were probably heavy on their minds during their early days. But, ‘Be Young’ also has that same idea. With guitars reminiscent of ‘Time For Heroes’ from their first album, this song encourages listeners to fall in love and of course, to be young. ‘I Have A Friend’ addresses some of the despairing aspects of our modern-day world, “It’s hard to theorize when you are being brutalized.” These songs seem to be a vehicle of healing for the band, as well as a way to look back and examine their younger years.

‘Night Of The Hunter’ brings a very spooky and almost eerie vibe to the album, one that opens mystery to the audience. “They’re taking me away for a while / Well, don’t blame me, it’s the world that made me.” It speaks of pain and hate and addresses many of the issues so prevalent in our lives. ‘Baron’s Claw’ also subjects the listener to an energy that is a little different from what we know them for. It, too, brings an aura of mystery, one filled with horns and soft delivery. Although it’s a bit different, it’s still unequivocally The Libertines.

‘Shiver’ makes you remember once again that this band is from the UK, as it is an ode to Queen Elizabeth and England. “It’s all too much today / Liz has gone away.” Sweet and a bit solemn, I’m sure this song was a comfort to many people who can relate to their grievances. Tracks like ‘Mustangs’, ‘Man With The Melody’, ‘Merry Old England’ and ‘Songs They Never Play On The Radio’ are much more laid back and do not hold the angst we once knew them so well for. But, to me, this just represents their evolution from being young teenagers to adults who no longer need crazy guitars and chaos to be able to communicate their feelings.

The Libertines have done a wonderful job of communicating growing up and beginning to see the world for what it is, and much of the way to deal with that is showing love. They’ve given us a glimpse into what’s on their minds and what now inspires them to make music, and for that, their fans are eternally grateful.


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