Libertines still very much alive in first album in nine years

Pete Doherty (l) and Carl Barrat of The Libertines on the Other Stage during the Glastonbury Festival at Worthy Farm in Somerset. Yui Mok/PA Wire/dpa
Pete Doherty (l) and Carl Barrat of The Libertines on the Other Stage during the Glastonbury Festival at Worthy Farm in Somerset. Yui Mok/PA Wire/dpa
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In 2015, the Libertines staged a comeback with "Anthems for Doomed Youth." But it has taken the British indie-rock band nine years to follow up with another album. Their latest studio record "All Quiet On The Eastern Esplanade," the band's fourth, is out on April 5, marking the second album since they got back together.

The members of the London band formed in 1997 have become something like the elder statesmen of indie rock after the escapades of frontman Pete Doherty, his relationship with supermodel Kate Moss, his drug abuse and clashes with bandmate Carl Barât characterized British pop culture excessively over the years.

In the meantime, things have quietened down with the Libs, above all Doherty, the eternal enfant terrible, who has at times worked as a painter, turned away from drugs and retired with his wife and child to a quiet life in France. There, the musician acquired a whole new figure and possibly also diabetes - by his own account thanks to a lot of cheese.

"Yeah, I am a bit of a glutton. It's not a joke. I've been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. And at the moment I'm lacking the discipline to tackle cholesterol," Doherty told The Guardian.

To say that the new Libertines album sounds more like the onset of adult diabetes than a heroin rush would be mean and also not true. But it does sound much older than "Anthems for Doomed Youth" nine years ago. It's more harmonious, somehow healthier, and even has, at times, something of a lounge atmosphere.

In its album review, Rolling Stone has dubbed the record "A mellowing of The Likely Lads."

"It's classic Libs, but from the renewed perspective of four middle aged blokes," reads the subtitle of the piece. Barât told Rolling Stone: "A this time, we're in the best possible place I think we can be."

The album's title references Erich Maria Remarque's anti-war novel "All Quiet On The Western Front" as well as the address of the group's studio and hotel in the English coastal town of Margate, according to British news agency PA.

At least during the recording sessions there was strict discipline. "Carl insisted on there being no alcohol even," Doherty told The Guardian. "He wanted it to be pure."

And so it turns out to be. The eleven songs sound well-rounded, and the laughter at the end of song number two, "Mustang," genuinely laid-back. In "Merry old England" the Libs reminisce about chip packets in puddles and there's a line that you want to shout right back at Doherty in particular: "My my my my congrats on staying alive."