Exiling themselves from the roar of the media in the Thai jungles of eastern Asia, The Libertines have slipped out of their 10 year inertia with the release of a new single, Gunga Din. The band are next in line to take their place in a series of highly anticipated comebacks which have already seen the likes of Blur and Florence and The Machine break their musical silences in extremely big ways. Blur’s The Magic Whip, which was also recorded over in east Asia, charted at No.1 whilst Florence and The Machine’s How Big How Blue How Beautiful did the same and also managed to secure the alt-pop group a headline slot at Glastonbury, so 90s rock band clearly have a lot to exceed.
Gunga Din inevitably presents us with change, both in the band’s sound and appearance, however the classic rowdiness of the Likely Lads does try and puncture the lungs of the track at points with, what initially seems like a polished guitar riff, breaking out into a rapturous mania. The band seem to be translating experience through music with the cleaner melodies and lighter production, perhaps coincidentally, coinciding with co-frontman Pete Doherty’s admission from rehab. There’s no denying this has played heavy influence upon the track with the lyrics ‘Got to find a vein’ being a frank message of his drug abuse whilst ‘Though the road is long you stay strong’ later adds a redemptive element to this anecdote.
Returning from what can only be a dark place, The Libertines have managed to render the turmoil of their individual experiences and relationship as a band into a track that marks the start of a new era for the Likely Lads. If Gunga Din is anything to go by, then we should definitely be excited for their new album, Anthems For Doomed Youth, which will be released this September.
Words by William Castile