Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Consumer Guide Album

The Libertines: The Libertines [Rough Trade, 2004]
They didn't start as fast or punky as their reputation, and this seat-of-the-pants follow-up, every song cut quick lest Peter Doherty take a powder, often seems fragile, offhand, tentative, even enervated. But this isn't a weakness--it only makes their sound more their own. As with the Heartbreakers on the precious occasions when they jelled, their punk is overwhelmed by unhinged lyricism--with drum powerhouse Gary Powell assuring that they rock when need be regardless. A-