The Pogues If I Should Fall From Grace With God

The Pogues If I Should Fall From Grace With God

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Though chiefly--and rightly--remembered for spawning the best Christmas song ever ("Fairytale Of New York"), If I Should Fall From Grace With God captures one of the greatest songwriters of his time and one of the most inventive and potent bands of recent memory at the peaks of their formidable powers. Though the idea that Shane MacGowan and his fellow Pogues were no more than cider-addled hooligans with banjos had already been put to flight by 1985's magnificent Rum, Sodomy & The Lash, If I Should Fall From Grace... was the triumph they deserved. It remains The Pogues' finest hour. The title track opens, a self-destructive statement of intent with the momentum of a runaway train, and though this isn't the last great tankard-clanking drinking song here (see also "Bottle Of Smoke", "Turkish Song Of The Damned", "Fiesta"), the album possesses real depth: guitarist Phil Chevron contributes an exquisite lament to the Irish diaspora ("Thousands Are Sailing") and MacGowan provides further evidence of his facility for balladry ("The Broad Majestic Shannon") and a talent for political invective ("Birmingham Six", which earned a ban from the BBC). James Joyce, superimposed on the band portrait on the sleeve, is flattered by the company. A masterpiece. --Andrew Mueller