Publication: San Jose Mercury News
Date Printed: 1992
Section: Arts
By: J. T.

''Waiting for Herb" (Chameleon; CD and cassette)

With the folding of the Chameleon label into Elektra, it's unlikely this hearty Irish folk-rock album will get much promotion. More's the pity. "Waiting for Herb" bristles with traditionalism and modern punk fervor, with pumping button accordion, bouncy banjos and twangy guitars scoring the Pogues' raspy, angry-poet refrains.

Check out the hard-bitten "Big City" or sardonic rewrite (copping only the title) of "Sitting on Top of the World" -- here a litany of the world's ills that grabs you with infectious refrain and dark humor. It's close in spirit to songs of their countryman Bob Geldof, ex-Boomtown Rats.

A zesty Slavic influence colors the desperate sea adventure aboard the "Drunken Boat." There's an alluring Arabic aura to the burning desert imagery of "Girl from the Wadi Hammamat."

Other faves include the Clash-like "Modern World," pub carouser "Smell of Petroleum" and the ghostly tall tale, "Haunting," scored as a lively jig.

-- J.T.

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