The Albion is set to sail again in 2015. This year, Pete, Carl, Gary and John will deliver their first album in over a decade – but what do they have in store for us? Here’s 10 things we know about The Libs’ much-anticipated comeback…
1. It was born in Thailand. After Pete flew out to Bangkok last year to enrol in a rehab programme, Carl followed him to Thailand to start writing for the band’s third album. “There were fears,” says Pete, “but when they came to visit me, I played Carl this riff and wet were just bouncing ideas off each other. It was like going back in time.”
2. It’s a group effort. Pete has claimed that he also wrote a song with bassist John Hassall when the full band were in Thailand to sign their new record deal with Virgin/EMI.
3. It’ll feature new versions of some old, unfinished songs. “We were reminding each other of scores of tunes we’d forgotten, that had never seen the light of day,” Carl told NME last year. “Like we did with ‘Music When The Lights Go Out’ on the second album – that was written way before, in the ’90s – a couple of old ones surfaced in the mix.”
4. Mick Jones probably isn’t producing. “I’m so pleased The Libertines are back together,” said Jones, who produced both previous Libs albums. “I’m sure the new songs will be great, but I probably won’t be producing them.”
5. It’s their chance to make up for old mistakes. “I see it as a chance to fulfil everything we fucked up, really,” says Pete. “Although I never admitted to fucking up. It’s almost like I don’t know how those things got recorded after listening back to the old vocal takes. It was what it was and it was all true, but some of it’s too fast and some of it’s just too slow.”
6. ‘Albion’ might be on it. Recorded by Babyshambles for ‘Down In Albion’ in 2005, the emotive classic ‘Albion’ was originally a Libertines song. But with the reformed band playing it at the Hyde Park show in London last summer, it’s tipped to be considered for the new Libs album.
7. ‘Bound Together’ is another likely candidate. Demoed for ‘The Libertines’ but never completed, ‘Bound Together’ is one of the ‘lost’ tracks that fans believe is most likely to end up on the album, alongside ‘You’re My Waterloo’.
8. They’re not taking drugs to make music to take drugs to. As an addict, Pete claims, he had trouble listening to many of The Libertines’ classic songs, but “whilst I’ve been clean I’ve tried to listen to some of it. If we can pick up from where we left off 10 years ago, fuck what anyone else thinks… we’re still on a path to Arcadia. That’s all that matters to me.”
9. It’ll be started in Thailand, and maybe finished in Germany. The Libs have been recording at Karma Sound Studios in Thailand, but when Pete’s not in rehab he still lives in Hamburg, where Clouds Hill Recording studio is based. It’s a favourite with Doherty and his management, and the band rehearsed for their 2014 shows there.
10. It’s definitely a new Libs phase. “The new phase has happened,” says Pete. “I’m not going to say it’s a ‘brave’ new chapter but it’s a new chapter. You can be scared and brave.”