There’s no way the cover of “The Libertines” could be any more fitting. In one stark, perversely beautiful image it encapsulates the unflinchingly candid soap opera that was their swan song.
It’s unashamedly self-infatuated; detailing the genuinely tragic display of what had been a tempestuous but beautiful camaraderie. Carl fixes you with a forlorn stare, conveying just how lost he feels, torn between his friend and their vision for the band; Pete stares down at his own arm, perfectly illustrating his spiral into self-destruction. But with their arms side-by-side, you see their matching tattoos: “libertine.”
The dream is over and this is how it’s happened, blood and guts spilled for all to see. Even before you hear the raucous opening bars of “Can’t Stand Me Now” as it practically falls over itself to pour its heart out, you know “The Libertines” is going to be the story of the decay of one of the most important yet infamous bands in British rock & roll for the past decade.