Over a year has passed since everyone collectively lost their minds over the news that The Libertines were getting back together and playing a reunion show at Hyde Park. However, once the euphoria had worn off, the fear began to set in. It’s no secret that The Libertines are unpredictable, and their history of drugs and debauchery means that, sadly, you never quite know what tomorrow might bring for the likely lads.
The first good sign was that they made it through Hyde Park (as did the crowd, just about). They then announced more tour dates for the future and this year are on the bill for a handful of festivals, including a spot headlining Reading and Leeds. But the most glorious and comforting part of the Libs reunion is that they’ve finally made, nay, completed another album.
From that album comes ‘Gunga Din’, The Libertines’ first single in 11 years. Pinch me, quick. It hardly seemed possible just a few years ago that the Libs would ever make music again, so it’s hard to comprehend that they’ve just released a new single and a bloody good one at that.
Guitars that sing ska melodies and woeful lyrics that cite the poem by Rudyard Kipling of the same name, ‘Gunga Din’ is strikingly sharp and anecdotal, with a chorus that picks at the remnants of hope present in the lyrics: “The road is long, if you stay strong you’re a better man than I”.
The song addresses the struggles that Carl Barat and Pete Doherty have faced, both together and alone, in a sobering way that reminds you bluntly of their toxic and often self-destructive lives. It’s utterly The Libertines, but fresh enough in its sound that you don’t feel you’re getting a forgotten B-side from a decade ago, which many fans feared would make up the brunt of the new album.
‘Gunga’ Din is more than just a single. It’s proof that even the seemingly impossible is sometimes possible in the world of music. Welcome back boys, we can’t wait to hear more.
Listen to ‘Gunga Din’ below: