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The Libertines - The Best of: A Time for Heroes

Released by Rough Traders, 12/04/07

Please forget the hype and just listen to the music -- this is what Geoff Travis and Jeanette Lee from Rough Traders said of The Libertines recently released "best of" album. Truer words have not been spoken. If you push Pete Doherty’s drug-induced, modelizing antics and media faux pas to the very back of your memory, the guy who looks like he has used up all of his nine lives puts on a stellar performance as Libertine front-man and proves that good British punk has a future.

Whilst the band, centred on the partnership of Pete Doherty (vocals/rhythm guitar), Carl Barât (vocals/lead guitar), John Hassall (bass) and Gary Powell (drums), only enjoyed notoriety for about two years and consequently, two albums, Time For Heroes is a collaboration of all the best bits -- and there are a lot of them despite juvenile and very rocky beginnings.

“Don’t Look Back Into The Sun” is the first major standout. It starts with a bassy, almost jazz-like drumbeat from Gary Powell that is quickly followed by a very catchy guitar riff -- it’s what I imagine The Kinks to sound like if they existed post 2000. “Don’t Look Back Into The Sun” is the type of song that sounds just as good on the dance floor as it would in the car and when you hear the clapping, that’s just what you’ll want to do too.

On a completely different note, ‘What a Waster” is an ode to garage punk. "F" expletives pepper the song throughout and Carl Barât’s fast guitar dominates in what turns out to be an interesting insight into drug use.

“What Katie Did” simply rocks if you can get past the image of the punk party-boys "shooping" like Betty Everett. Written in reference to the children’s book What Katy Did and often dedicated to Kate Moss, the song is an instant toe-tapper with slick guitar riffs from both Doherty and Barât.

The Libertines can claim one of the great rock 'n' roll stories of our time. A true drama of drugs, sex and self-destruction to rival any of the legendary tales passed down from past punk generations. Do yourself a favour and live vicariously.

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars.