Monday, October 21, 2002

The Libertines Up the Bracket released

Up the Bracket

The Libertines

Released: October 21, 2002

Peak: -- US, 35 UK

Sales (in millions): -- US, 0.3 UK

Genre: garage rock revival


Song Title [time] (date of single release, chart peaks) Click for codes to singles charts.

  1. Vertigo [2:37]
  2. Death on the Stairs [3:24]
  3. Horrorshow [2:34]
  4. Time for Heroes [2:40] (1/1/03, 20 UK)
  5. Boys in the Band [3:42]
  6. Radio America [3:44]
  7. Up the Bracket [2:40] (9/30/02, 29 UK)
  8. Tell the King [3:22]
  9. The Boy Looked at Johnny [2:38]
  10. Begging [3:20]
  11. The Good Old Days [2:59]
  12. I Get Along [2:51] (6/3/02, 99 UK)
  13. What a Waster * [3:56] (6/1/02, 37 UK)
  14. Mocking Bird * [3:17]
* Added to U.S. release. All songs written by Pete Doherty and Carl Barât.

Total Running Time: 36:33

The Players:

  • Pete Doherty (vocals, guitar)
  • Carl Barât (vocals, guitar)
  • John Hassall (bass)
  • Gary Powell (drums)


4.005 out of 5.00 (average of 19 ratings)

Awards: (Click on award to learn more).

About the Album:

“In 2002, the emerging music scene in Britain left a lot to be desired. There hadn’t been an exciting band to emerge since Britpop began before it ate itself and turned tedious. Coldplay, Embrace, and Travis had become the new saviours of music, but there was nothing for people who don’t want their bands to look like geography teachers. The Libertines answered everyone’s prayers. They were unhinged, feral and chaotic, arriving like a breath of fresh air among the tiresome state of affairs. They didn’t just have the rock ‘n’ roll swagger and attitude; The Libertines had the tunes to back it up.” FO “The Libertines created a modern-day British classic that got feisty guitar music back in vogue and made rock music cool again.” FO

They were “the first British band to rival the garage rock revival sparked by the Strokes and White Stripes in the U.S.” AMG The Libertines’ Up the Bracket is “a debut album so confident and consistent that the easiest way to describe it is 2002’s answer to Is This It. That’s not just because singer/ guitarist Pete Doherty’s slurred, husky vocals sound like Julian Casablancas’ with the added bonus of a fetching Cockney accent (or that both groups share the same tousled, denim-clad fashion sense); virtually every song on Up the Bracket is chock-full of the same kind of bouncy, aggressive guitars, expressive, economic drums, and irresistible hooks that made the Strokes’ debut almost too catchy for the band’s credibility.” AMG

Of course, “the Strokes’ sound owes as much to Britpop sensations like Supergrass…and Elastica as it does to American influences like the Stooges and the Velvet Underground. Likewise, the Libertines play fast and loose with four decades’ worth of British rock history, mixing bits and bobs of British Invasion, mod, punk, and Britpop with the sound of their contemporaries.” AMG

The result is “at once fresh and familiar.” AMG Mick Jones of the Clash produces and his “warm, not-too-rough, and not-too-polished production both emphasizes the pedigree of their sound and the originality of it.” AMG “On songs like Vertigo, Death on the Stairs, and the excellent Boys in the Band, the guitars switch between Merseybeat chime and a garagey churn as the vocals range from punk snarls to pristine British Invasion harmonies.” AMG

“Capable of bittersweet beauty on the folky, Beatlesque Radio America and pure attitude on Horrorshow, the Libertines really shine when they mix the two approaches and let their ambitions lead the way. ‘Did you see the stylish kids in the riot?’ begins Time for Heroes, an oddly poetic mix of love and war that recalls the band’s spiritual and sonic forefathers the Clash; The Good Old Days blends jazzy verses, martial choruses, and lyrics like ‘It’s not about tenements and needles and all the evils in their eyes and the backs of their minds.’” AMG

“On songs like these, Tell the King, and Up the Bracket, the group not only outdoes most of its peers but begins to reach the greatness of the Kinks, the Jam, and all the rest of the groups whose brilliant melodic abilities and satirical looks at British society paved the way. Though the album is a bit short at 36 minutes, that’s long enough to make it a brilliant debut; the worst you can say about its weakest tracks is that they’re really solid and catchy. Punk poets, lagered-up lads, London hipsters – the Libertines play many different roles on Up the Bracket, all of which suit them to a tee. At this point in their career they’re not as overhyped as many of their contemporaries, so enjoy them while they’re still fresh.” AMG

Notes: “What a Waster” and “Mocking Bird” were added as bonus tracks to the U.S., Canadian, Spanish, and Japanese editions. “What a Waster” and “Mayday” were bonus tracks on the Australian version. The UK version added “What a Waster” as a bonus track.

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First posted 5/12/2008; last updated 4/28/2022.

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