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  • The Libertines - My Word That Was Fun

    The Libertines are and probably always will be my favourite band, they, in my eyes at least have the perfect mix of catchy tunes and meaningful lyrics something that it saddens me to say has never been recreated by either Doherty or Barat since the band split in 2004. The 2010 Reading performance was a wonderful moment but I would guess that it signalled a final end rather than a new beginning for the band.

    Anyway none of that was particularly relevant to what I am writing this for; October 14th 2012 marks exactly 10 years since the release of the Libertine's debut album and my favourite album of all time, Up the Bracket. As a tribute the NME has released an album of covers of every track by various artists from up and comers such as Birmingham's PEACE to more seasoned professionals such as The Charlatan's Tim Burgess. As Up The Bracket is closest thing I have ever come across to a 10/10 album I feel the urge to review this remake to find out whether or not it honours or insults the original piece. 

    1. Vertigo - PEACE

    Hailing from ever pleasant Birmingham, PEACE are one of the most exciting new bands of the moment having just released EP delicious to high acclaim. Unfortunately their take on the Up the Bracket opener is sub par. I had very high hopes for it but it brought none of the substance that has made their debut EP such a success. You can hear from the vocals that they are Libertines fans as one of the two leads almost identically impersonates Pete's drones but musically there just wasn't enough - 4/10

    2. Death on the Stairs - Spector

    I want to like Spector, Frederick Macpherson is a wonderful lead vocalist and I have followed him from his days as Les Incompetents but they've failed to grab me with the Spring 2012 release. Enjoy it While it Lasts. Therefore I wasn't expecting huge things and they delivered exactly that, I don't feel Macpherson's voice particularly suited and the lo-fi adaption of the melody didn't really work - 4/10

    3. Horrorshow - Eyes on Film

    I hadn't heard of Eyes on Film until about a week previous when I saw them listed as 'Carl Barat's new band' on a flyer. It is then no surprise that the style of this track was extremely similar to the original but again without any of the same passion. They're a band that I will no doubt look out for as Carl's new project but not really right for this - 5/10

    4. Time for Heroes - The Milk

    Right, this is pretty much my favourite song of all time so the Milk had a really tough task before they even started BUT I was pleasantly surprised. I've known about the Milk for a little while, seeing them live earlier in the year at the Stockton Weekender and didn't really think much of them but their take on this classic wasn't half bad, they made it their own. There were a lot of similarities with the original but enough of themselves to make it a good listen - 6/10

    5. Boys in the Band - Stealing Sheep

    This for me was the first track that really stood out. Stealing Sheep are a band who I had heard the name of but knew nothing about, turns out they are 3 scouse lasses who must be quite brave gaging by the way they did this track. And in my eyes at least it works, the song is completely reworked and sounds like a spacey dream, I love it - 9/10

    6. Radio America - Mystery Jets

    Back down to earth with a bang from another track that I had expected a lot from. I saw Mystery Jets along with this track and on paper it looks really good but in reality it gave me absolutely nothing apart from the odd change in word timing and a bit of harmonica. I love the bands latest Radlands but this had nothing of the Americana of that release nor the quirky charm of their earlier work - 4/10

    7. Up the Bracket - Howler

    Another dire Karaoke style attempt at a cover. The Minneapolis quintet are another band who I really enjoy on their own record, I rate America Give Up as one of the years better debuts but this rework of the title track sounds somehow more slurred than the original but with none of the passion - 3/10

    8. Tell the King - Tribes

    This Acoustic rework was surprisingly good. Tribes are a band who have been floating around for a while but that I had never given a chance too as I had just assumed they were one of these new electro inspired kid bands but this take on one of the more subtle tracks on the album is very bare an honest and feels like the band have made a real connection with the song which really can't be said for the majority of this album - 7/10

    9. The Boy Looked at Johnny - Marybell Katastrophy

    Another band that I had never heard of and thus had no idea what to expect from and like Stealing Sheep earlier, another complete rewrite of the entire song. The Boy looked at Johnny is one of the shorter, more raw songs from Up the Bracket but Marybell have turned it into a Scandinavian electro dance tune. It is so strange, I wasn't sure if I liked it at first but after a couple of listens it is now one of my favourites - 8/10

    10. Begging - The Cast of Cheers

    A Band that I have been watching closely since the release of their debut single Family was released earlier in the year. And for the first time on the album a track that I had high hopes for delivered, again I wasn't sure at first as the changes in this rework are more subtle than that of Marybell or Stealing Sheep but they are there and although it still sounds like an Indie rock guitar track it very much has its own personality - 8/10

    11. The Good Old Days - Tim Burgess

    After 3 good covers in a row it was too much to ask for another right? Well yes, Tim Burgess has managed to make it sound EXACTLY the same as the original. It doesn't sound bad but it just doesn't really deserve a place on a covers album. I can't say I am surprised though as Mr. Burgess is a long standing friend of Carl Barat and I wouldn't be surprised if they played it together as The Chavs - 4/10

    12. I Get Along - Splashh

    There is a lot of hype about this band at the moment, you might say they are making a big.. no I won't do it. The band had a very tough job adapting this track as it is two and a half minutes of near perfection and not to the bands discredit what they tried didn't really come off. Too similar to the original with a few more pedals and a bit of muffled conversation at the end didn't really do it for me - 4/10


    So there you have it, I've totted up the scores and averaged it out to give the album a very mediocre 5.5/10 overall rating and that is only brought up by a couple of really good tracks. I don't know if I am a good critic of the piece really though as I was never going to fairly compare it to the original and thus it is no surprise that my favourite tracks are the ones that sound least like the Libertines own material.