Saturday, December 13, 2008

10 Classic Irish Albums (9)

THE POGUES - If I Should Fall From Grace With God
When the late, great Joe Strummer joined The Pogues as a temporary touring vocalist in the wake of 1991's sacking of Shane MacGowan, it was a tacit acknowledgement that the Pogues were worthy of being regarded as indirect descendants of punk forebears like The Clash. MacGowan and co. saw the link between the physicality, energy and political potency of traditional Irish music and the similar characteristics of punk music; the result was a compelling, invigorating fusion of styles that arguably reached its peak on their third album, If I Should Fall From Grace With God.

The opening one-two of the title track and ‘Turkish Song Of The Damned’ (which adds Eastern European influences to the brew) is as thrilling a start to an album as you’ll hear from any punk act, with MacGowan echoing Strummer’s unhinged cries and yelps in his own inimitable style. It’s not all loud and fast though: rubbing shoulders with the rowdy, raucous likes of ‘Fiesta’ and ‘Bottle of Smoke’ are tracks like ‘Streets Of Sorrow / Birmingham Six’ and ‘Thousands Are Sailing’, which don’t shy away from controversial topics, but treat their subjects with empathy and pathos. And then of course there’s ‘Fairytale Of New York’, which despite being rammed down our throats every holiday season is still absolutely magnificent.

Standout Tracks: If I Should Fall From Grace With God, Turkish Song Of The Damned, Fairytale Of New York

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