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The Libertines

The Libertines (Rough Trade)

"Shoop shoop/Shoop de-lang de-lang"? While the Libertines' epic drug consumption has been well documented, not even a kiddie pool full of meth could account for the gawky, girl-group doo-wop of "What Katie Did," one of the more tweaked tracks off the British group's self-titled sophomore effort. Not that the band was shooting straight to begin with: Its 2002 debut, Up the Bracket, could barely hold together its hodgepodge of swagger, pucker, punk and pop. Still, it was as twisted and riveting as an Amtrak derailment -- a height the new disc doesn't hit until its last song, "What Became of the Likely Lads." A lung-bursting jumble of the Clash, Supergrass and the Faces, it actually fulfills most of the fanatic expectation that England's press has foisted on the band. The Libertinesis already being talked about over there as an epoch-defining opus bursting with ideas and inspiration. But as the 38th "de-lang de-lang" jangles through your ear canals, it all becomes crystal clear: The only lightbulbs going off are the ones these guys are smoking their crack out of.

 
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