Carl Barât lacks Pete Doherty’s charisma, supermodel ex and penchant for public self-destruction. The Libertines’ early idealism, though, is safe with him.
The Albion, the mythic ship the pair once imagined sailing to glory, has been pockmarked by past defeats. But Barât’s new, Facebook-recruited band The Jackals can still fire fusillades of glam-ska guitar, while his latest scrappy anthems reference the likes of Blake, and Orwellian alcohol (Victory Gin is named after 1984’s sinister tipple).
Let It Rain’s 60s chamber pop and March Of The Idle’s Stones harmonica add variety. Beginning To See’s anti-religion lyrics even find one aspect of Christianity Barât can’t help but love: ‘I don’t mind people changing water into wine/I do that all the time.’
The familiar tumbledown energy recalls an English Replacements, with a spirit that’s amateur and desperately hedonistic. It’s rock’n’roll for ageing urchins who don’t know how to quit./o:p