"Pogues Mahone" [sic]

Publication: Justice (Brandeis University)
Date Printed: Tuesday, March 5, 1996
Section: ?
Page: ?
By: Miriam Leibowitz

With "Pogue Mahone," the Pogues have yet again released a winner. Spider Stacy is mesmerizing with his husky voice, backed by hollow and stunning sounds from the rest of the band. This, the band's seventh album, is a refreshing mix of harsh reality and upbeat folk tunes.

This album is full of evocative and emotive songs that set your mind on edge and at the same time remind you that things could be worse.

Without accurately being able to characterize the music that the Pogues so smoothly produce, one can almost say that it is Irish at the core but seems to mimic Cajun and Zydeco. Nowhere on "Pogue Mahone" is the Louisianna influence more prevalent than on the short but pwerful track "Amadie." The song pays homage to Amagie Adouin, who loost his famous voice when he was assaulted. The song opens with a contagious Cajun rhythm and a barrage of French, describing Adouin's expert guitar playing and vocal talent and the racial conflict to which he ultimately fell prey during his career.

"When the Ship Comes In" is a remake of a classic Bob Dylan song. The Pogues give it the flavor of a fast-paced Peter, Paul and Mary ballad. James McNally on the accordion and whistle give Dylan's lyrics a distinctively Celtic attitude.

The Pogues put a delicious spin on love songs. Take for instance, "Living in a World Without Her." The song opens with a tune reminiscent of a Civil War mini-series theme and turns into and up-beat description of the agony that would follow the loss of "her."

With a different attitude, "Love You 'Till the End" mellows the album and makes you want to hold onto the one you love. As the song progresses, the simple lyrics and instrumentation evolve into a complex mix of vocal, guitar, bass, piano, mandolin, djembe, shaker and a string orchestra.

"Where That Love's Been Gone" is another love song that speaks of lost lovers and where they might be. It has a bluegrass/country melody, and, again, Stacy's gruff vocals backed by Jem Finer.

Although it has undergone several metamorphoses, the band's experience is apprent and a refreshing change from the usual garble that fills new rock stations.

Copyright 1996, Justice (Brandeis University)
All rights reserved

Your intrepid maintainer is DzM.