by Emma Butterfield Pete Doherty. The Libertines. Made your mind up already? The album contains no unreleased material, and I imagine the rationale behind releasing it is to subsidise Doherty’s habits, or the other members’ vanity bands. It won’t reach new listeners that somehow missed them the first time around (all of 3 years ago), and their antics have already polarised their potential audience. Aficionados have already sought out every demo and bootleg, and the rest of us have been avidly ignoring them (and will presumably continue to do so). That said, if they were ever going to release a best of, it would have to be now: they depend on our knowledge of their antics. ‘What Katie Did’ is a tacky Beach Boys pastiche (without the 4-part harmony), whose appeal derives from the fact that we all know who Katie is. This is Doherty’s killer device – the listener feels like they’re in on his secrets. Doherty’s lauded wit is nothing more than a series of inside jokes. The poppy five-note melodies and four-line choruses have lasting appeal, but the humour will fall flat when the audience isn’t au courant with the self-proclaimed prince of Albion and his ‘bird from South London’. All that will remain are some songs which attempt a punk aesthetic (a conspicuous gurgling scream in ‘Up the Bracket’, and every song less than 4 minutes), but maintain a simple tunefulness. The Libertines are Busted, but with suits and skag. Their sound is at odds with their reputation for outrage – it’s conventional, pretty and melodic: the title track, with its refrain of ‘oh I cherish you my love’ is very sweet (saccharine, in fact, were it not for the occasional references to blood up the walls). ‘Don’t Look Back into the Sun’ recalls a similarly titled Britpop anthem. Unlike Oasis, though, the Libertines’ music won’t outlast their myth.