This Super Deluxe Edition arrives smack dab on time – 20 years to the day after the original album’s 2002 debut and spot on for the nostalgia wave. Following on from the Sex Pistols to the Clash, the Libertines might be labeled post-post-punk if you want to get academic, but their aim was true and their ethos pure.
Adding a seal of authenticity, the album was produced by the Clash’s Mick Jones in a return to roots after his Big Audio Dynamite foray. But it was the songwriting – and as importantly, antics – of the core duo of Peter Doherty and Carl Barat that stood tall. A Jagger/Richards duet for the noughts, they were suitably naughty, from the appropriated Coldstream Guards uniforms to their messy personal lives, they made sure everyone knew they were bad boys. Still, they could write impossibly catchy guitar hooks, and Barat wailed on solos with abandon, showing a seriousness underneath that ragged exterior.
This collection unearths 65 previously unreleased recordings, including original demos, radio sessions, and live recordings, documenting the making of their masterpiece album. Plus, there’s a live recording from the 100 Club in 2002 and a 60-page book. Nostalgia has rarely sounded so good.
This article originally appeared in VG’s November 2022 issue. All copyrights are by the author and Vintage Guitar magazine. Unauthorized replication or use is strictly prohibited.