It has always been a difficult thing, producing rock ‘n’ roll music that stands and falls at the same time. And as more generations stumble through the tradition that goes back to the early Simon & Garfunkel, the trick gets harder and harder to conquer, especially in the new way we see it today.
The UK’s Libertines do it in a revelatory way. You may be doubtful at first, because, like most post-punk bands, the Libertines sound ripped and repetitive.
Egged on by producer Mick Jones, Carl Barat’s voice dances to the extent of running out of breath, and the guitar amps tremble from the ripping guitars. If you have a taste for the Libertines, this album will awe you to the point of getting down on your knees and praying to a set of songs that even Stevie Wonder would see as inspirational.
The track list on this album will make you feel as though your ears are fortunate to listen to music as insightful as this, and to be allowed to jump to the post-punk glamor that runs through it.
Up the Bracket is a must-buy for Strokes lovers too.
The Libertines — Up The Bracket: Track-by-track review
“Vertigo” is a full-on start to this classic album, pulling you right into the Libertines’ game of upbeat music. You may want to put on your dancing shoes for this song and break into an uncontrollable rage of musical insanity, because that sure is sure what I am feeling.
For what it’s worth, this is a song which will get the buzz of the music juice running through you, as you roll around on your floor laughing manically.
As a reviewer, I have to find something incomplete about this song, and I would say that the drums dominate the song too much — everything else is playing behind them, which is a real bummer considering the recording could have been so much better.
2. “Death On The Stairs”
“Don’t kill me, you’ve got nothing” — the classic line sung by Pete Doherty, will, if you are pulled into a song by its lyrics, make you think about this song more than you thought it would.
You will be amazed by the guitar riffs built into “Death On the Stairs”; they will crawl into your skin, bouncing off your skin and bones, and then travel to your spine and give you shivers you have never experienced before.
From the captivating keyboard intro at the beginning to the explosive guitar solo at the end, you will never grow tired of this song, and it will never grow tired of you.
A jolt of music is brought on by this song, draining you of all your energy from the headbanging you will feel the need to do. “Horrowshow” is heavy, soothing and intense all at the same time. I find the vocals in this song fascinating — one man singing so fast, yet keeping tempo and melody together.
Drums are hard to point out as the best part of a song, but here they will definitely have you dying for more once the song comes to a complete halt. Yet another classic song on the album.
4. “Time For Heroes”
Now we finally come to the debut single on Up the Bracket, and I can tell you this song most certainly deserved the (short-lived) radio airtime it received. You can play this song all day and it will always give you a relaxed feeling, as pounding as the song is. You will almost sing aloud when listening to the bridge’s backup vocals.
When you first hear “Time For Heroes,” the starting 9 chords will make you think “this song is not going to be amazing”… but then, as the track continues, you notice that even though those chords are found nowhere else in the song, they blend with everything else.
An original song that is incredibly underrated. And deserving to be on your mix tape.
5. “Boys In The Band”
I really don’t know what this song is about, but it is incredibly catchy. It gets you in the mood for air guitaring and driving a fist through a wall.
It is a good song, but there are way better songs on the album that top “Boys In the Band.” The guitar solo played in this piece is a complex twist, and only hearing is believing. And you will never find another song with better-used backup lyrics and snare drum.
6. “Radio America”
Compared to every other song on Up the Bracket, “Radio America” is pretty soft, and is sort of reminiscent of Radiohead due to the soft, whispery vocals.
I do not really like this song for that reason. There is no electric guitar anywhere — it’s based on acoustic guitar, vocals, drums, and some weird annoying tapping constantly through it. But as we all know, there’s always the black sheep…
7. “Up The Bracket”
I have no idea what Pete Doherty is doing at the very start of this song — it’s a loud scream; I had no idea what he was even saying until I actually looked up the lyrics to find out.
It ruined the song for me. Though the rest of the song is incredible, that intro was terrible. My first assumption, this being the album’s title song, was that I would be hearing a decent song, which was not what I heard.
The lyrics have a strong sense to them. I can feel what he is trying to describe. The solo isn’t that great, it just follows the melody line.
8. “Tell The King”
Here is another Strokes-sounding song, blended with a slight pinch of folk rock. There is a beautiful guitar riff throughout the intro, then the vocals come in to capture it.
A downside to this song is a guitar playing simultaneously with the vocals, whereas it could have had a better guitar line than 2 melodies playing in sync.
9. “Boy Looked At Johnny”
Another song which does not please me; the vocal melody is terrible, I regret to say. The guitar was not built for this song, due to it being off-key compared to the bass.
I do enjoy the drums here though, they are fast and flowing throughout the song. They capture most of the song, and take your attention off the poorly built melody.
It’s tempting to give a higher rating, though compared to other songs on this album…
At last, we hear a bass line!!! The song starts with by building to a crescendo of drums. Then the to-die-for bass line plays, incredibly so. The rest of the song is well thought out, with a few drops and rises.
Because of the intro, with its well played drum line, and hearing a bass guitar…
11. “Good Old Days”
My first impression of this song was not good; hearing the intro sort of rocked me off the edge. After waiting a few dying seconds we finally come to a guitar bridge and then the whole band comes in.
This song is just plain incredible. It has the most amazing atmosphere and could almost give you the feel of a good Elliott Smith or Clash song. It has the vibe of a classic Jimmy Page solo towards the end.
This is another one of those songs you will put on your mix tape.
12. “I Get Along”
I was expecting more from this song. As a chord was played, I thought to myself “Oh I see where that’s going to go,” but it was very unpredictable, which is not usually what I like in a song.
I never did get a strong vibe from this song; all it reminded me of was one of those bad Sex Pistols songs you never want to hear. I dub this the worst song on Up The Bracket, and a terrible way to end the album.
Up The Bracket by The Libertines
“Death On The Stairs”
“Time For Heroes”
“Boys In The Band”
“Up The Bracket”
“Tell The King”
“Boy Looked At Johnny”
“Good Old Days”
“I Get Along”