The Pogues - If I Should Fall From Grace With God (Cover Artwork)

The Pogues

If I Should Fall From Grace With God (1987)


This is the Pogues' best album in my opinion, and I feel that it is my duty to reviewit. For those unfarmiliar with the Pogues, I'll try to describe their sound. They are like Flogging Molly, with more Celtic instrumentation and less punk guitar. The were not the punkest ban out there, but they played good Irish music with the same energy of other 70s and 80s punk bands.

There aren't too many bad songs on this release. The signature Pogues instrumentals are a little weak and there are a couple forgettable songs like "Bottle of Smoke", but for the most part this is a great album. "Fairytale of New York" is a great track, featuring the late Kirsty MacColl on vocals. The "Turkish Song of the Damned" is another good one, in which lead singer Shane MacGowan takes on the role of a sailor who owes a debt to the dead. The title track is one of the most well-known Pogues songs ever, and deservedly so. This one chronicles the fighters of the Spanish Civil War trying to protect their homes. "This land was always ours was the proud land of our fathers/It belongs to us and them, not to any of the others," says McGowan in his trademark half-drunk style.

My two favorite tracks on the album are "Thousands are Sailing" and "Streets of Sorrow/Birmingham Six." "Thousands are Sailing" is a longer song that showcases McGowan's songwriting abilities. "The island it is silent now/but the ghosts still haunt the waves/the torch lights up a famished man whom fortune could not save,"sings McGowan in this tale of Irish immigrants in America. "Streets of Sorrow/Birmingham Six" is actually two songs. The first is a haunting minute and a half ballad sung by Spider Stacy(I think). When Stacy's vocals fade out , the whole band kicks in and MacGowan starts to sing about the injutices done to the Irish by the British empire. This is McGowan at his best: drunk(probably) and pissed off.

This album is one of those where you can listen to the whole thing and onl skip a couple tracks. "South Australia" and "Medley" show the bands talent fro adapting Irish standards, and "Lullaby of London" and the Broad Majestic Shannon are two ballads that bring the album to a strong close. For fans of celtic-influenced punk in the style of Flogging Molly or Dropkick Murphys, and for fans of folk-punk like Billy Bragg and the Stiff Little Fingers, if you don't already have this, get it. If you're looking to get into the Pogues, this album is the best place to start in my opinion. And yes, I know I spelled MacGowan like 57 different ways, I'm sure someone will get it right.