Band say they 'didn't want to sound like we were back in 2004'
The Libertines have discussed their first new album in over a decade, revealing in an exclusive interview with NME that the record will see the band experiment with their signature sound.
The group signed a record deal with Virgin/EMI last December for a new LP, recently confirming that they’ve been working on the full-length at Karma Studios in Thailand. Prior to recording the album, Doherty left a rehabilitation facility in nearby Chon Buri after completing treatment for his drug addictions.
Speaking ahead of the album, which the band state will come out this year, frontman Pete Doherty claimed that fans “are going to love” the record. In this week’s print issue of NME, available digitally and on news stands now, Doherty said that “there’s a miracle aspect to actually getting it done and all getting together to do it,” adding: “We’re all really proud of it”. Pete’s fellow singer and guitarist, Carl Barat echoed the sentiment, saying: “It’s staggering that we’ve got to the point where we’ve actually got an imminent release for the fucking Libertines. Are you kidding me? Honestly, I’m still kind of pinching myself. Is this really going to happen? It’s mental, but I guess it is.”
The band also confirmed that the album – expected to be 11 tracks in length – only features one old song, a re-recorded version of ‘You’re My Waterloo’, with Barât revealing he felt its previous incarnation hadn’t “done it justice”.
Doherty tells NME that the band didn’t want to fall back on old material: “I think the fear was that we wouldn’t have anything in there to bring out. Fortunately, we did. We were inspired in the period leading up to Gary and John coming out and managed to write loads of really exciting new songs.” Drummer Gary Powell added: “I would have been really, really pissed off if we’d come back with a new album full of old stuff… The last thing I wanted us to do was sound like we were back in 2004”.
Instead, the band claim that the resulting album will be a “modern” version of the band, with Barât stating: “It’s not us repeating ourselves, that’s for sure,” says Carl. “We’ve definitely moved on. For a while, half my mind was thinking that the album would need an ‘I Get Along’ and a ‘Horrorshow’ – that fast guitar sound – but we were not really in that rhythm. There are a few nods to that for sure, but if we’re not in that rhythm and it’s not part of our lives, then there’s no point in forcing it. I think what came out was just what was right. We didn’t try hard to do anything, but with The Libertines there’s quite a spectrum of what we’ve always done. There are shades to us, and I wanted to make sure that everything I love about the band was represented.”
Revealing that there are synths on the album, as well as piano, bassist John Hassall joked: “We’ve gone progressive… No, don’t get scared. It’s still The Libertines, but it would be weird if we came back and just did exactly the same thing.”
Barât previously confirmed that The Libertines are making their third album with Ed Sheeran and One Direction producer Jake Gosling. He said in April: “We wanted someone who is getting their thing going, rather than someone who is just going to put us through their machine. This isn’t a heritage band making a heritage album.”
Ahead of the album’s release, The Libertines have also been confirmed as the headliners for both T In The Park and the Reading And Leeds festivals this summer.