Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Consumer Guide Album

The Libertines: Up the Bracket [Rough Trade, 2003]
Forget all the well-meaning comparisons to good bands present and especially past. Every guitar-based four-piece with enough sidelong flair and I-don't-care gets those nowadays, and these Londoners have more talent and panache than most if not all of them. They're plenty songful if you give them half a chance, which is hard because they conceal such a bewildering wealth of compositional tactics within a fast, loose, lyrical, vulnerable sound that's their own even if they've never given it a moment's thought which is what the sound wants you to think, and which I very much doubt. Let the past take care of itself. They want the world and they want the handcar it's going to hell in. A