Review Revue: The Pogues - If I Should Fall from Grace with God

For the first time in a very long time, I’m doing a Review Revue post on an album that I know and love, an album that I owned on tape from a very young age and have listened to many times. I haven’t listened to it quite so much in the past ten or so years, though I am remedying that right now, and every note resonates with me as if I’d last listened to it a few days ago. This album was a huge part of my musical coming of age; never having seen the Pogues (with or without the cantankerous Shane MacGowan) is one of the larger musical regrets of my life thus far.

The DJs at KCMU had a lot to say about this album, so let’s get right to it:


“Music Dept. Review: Very solid effort here. 1.1 originally appeared in different mix on Straight to Hell soundtrack. 1.4 is a Christmas song which was at #2 in UK at X-mas. Features a vocal from Kirsty MacColl. 1.5 is a great instrumental. 2.1 is such great fun -- plus it’s Latin-Irish!? Ha! Ha! 2.3 has a great feel. 2.4 is MacGowan at his very best, one of the finest songwriters in the business. But Jem, Terry, and James nearly steal the show here. Due in part, I suppose, to Steve Lillywhite’s production.”

“Bonehead fan review [by the same person]: Lillywhite should be banished from the music industry. Where are the rough edges? The missed notes? The character? If the songs were not so damned strong, this record would be in trouble. Am I too picky? No -- and the live show (June ’88) will prove it. These boys rock like all hell. They attack and pummel their instruments. Too bad 1.3 is a red dot -- as this song is the only one here which approaches their chaotic live presence. This disc frustrates me -- impossible not to love, yet disappointing when it falls short. Still brilliant!”

“No. No Dave. This is not very good. Sorry.”

“You can’t be serious.”

“OH YES I CAN.”

“But Bob can be wrong... ”

“Dave, we believed you last time you said the Pogues were a-comin’. As my dad says, ‘once you get a reputation, it’s hard to live it down.’ Good luck!”

“A real cheap shot. I won’t comment if Janine calls off the marriage.”

“Oooooo -- SIZZLE -- Too hot for me.”

“Marsh? MARRIAGE? Talk to me.”

“[arrows pointing at James Joyce] NOT A POGUE”

“It’s ['Brendan Behan' scratched out] James Joyce, famed Irish ['poet' scratched out] novelist!”

“Where’s Cait?”

“Does she look even more like a man now to the point of undetectability?

“Cait, who is mentioned on 2.1, married Elvis Costello and quit the band. Too bad, as her replacement, the fourth from left [James Joyce], is rather short.”

“Seeing as being short is such a tragic flaw. Downer.”

“What’s with all the fingerprints?”

“It’s a credit to the band that the production, though making it a more obviously ‘produced’ record, helps their sound instead of hindering it. See 1.2, 1.5 & 2.1 as examples of how they’re expanding their sounds. Outrocks a thousand AOR bands.”

“KUODOS to the Pogues! The sound is expanded, complementing the intense passion in the lyrics.” The ‘rough edges’ are in SHANE’S THROAT! These party banshees do more than pummel their instruments; they MASTER them! All 16+. Careful, or the whole disc’ll charm you. For a band of whiskey-hounds, Pogues spin some kinda magic web. TRUE LOVE.”

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