It’s been one of the most hotly anticipated and secretive reunions in recent memory. For the last few months, The Libertines have been living in near exile in Thailand, healing the wounds of the past and recording their third album. Now, buoyed by their triumphant live return with a surprise set on Glastonbury’s Pyramid Stage, the Likely Lads have given us our first taste of what September’s Anthems for Doomed Youth might have in store for us.
And just as Pete has gotten clean, their sound too has been somewhat refined but despite trading the rough and ready production for a slicker feel, the charm of their previous works is still very much engrained in the frenetic and clumsy lead guitar. Lyrically it offers a candid reflection on Pete’s more troubled times: “Got to find a vein / It’s always the same / Have a drink to ease the panic and the suffering.” Yet as the band come together to collectively holler through a chorus of “Though the road is long / You stay strong / You’re a better man than I”, it becomes apparent that ‘Gunga Din’ is a song of redemption, of reconciliation and most importantly, progress. This is the sound of a band who still have something to say and, in saying it, are bouncing back from the lowest of ebbs to their inimitable best.
Words by Thomas Johnston