Sunday, July 29, 2007

If I Should Fall From Grace With God (1988)

From Shane MacGowan's croaking essays just at hitting the note to all the painfully trendy problems of presenting as an "Irish punk" outfit in the late '80s, about the only thing the Pogues arguably had going for them was a canny strategy of setting expectations low. Maybe that's why this hits with a wallop that can send you sprawling. No trick is missed: the title track briskly sets forth the terms and rocks good and hard while they're at it; "Metropolis" is an instrumental that puts James Bond in the drunk tank; "Thousands Are Sailing" genuinely stirring; and "Worms" the perfect note of nihilism on which to end. The turn by the much missed Kirsty MacColl on "Fairytale" is a nice touch, but it's MacGowan that sets the waterworks in motion and makes you want to bawl. Corny, sure – but still, you're crying. He has all of that ability and a lot more and it's all here.

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