on 11 April 2001
This album was the last gasp of Shane MacGowan as singer with the Pogues and has been dismissed as rubbish by some, not least the man himself. However, I think this is a severely underrated album which has a lot to offer. It's not particularly Irish, its main tone being a sort of Spanish-influenced pop/rock, but, the Pogues being the Pogues, it sounds like no other pop or rock I know. There are three types of songs on the album - slightly duff (the out-of-place bluster of 'Rainbow Man'), very pleasant if fairly inconsequential (most of the others) and absolutely brilliant. In the latter category you have the claustrophobic hurdy-gurdy of the title track, the bittersweet urban satire of 'Rain Street', the Latin drama of 'Lorca's Novena' and the gorgeous, lazy, tranquil 'Summer in Siam'. Joe Strummer produces, lending the album a sun-kissed, laid back feeling far removed from the frantic clutter of the previous album, Shane is in comparatively fine voice and the playing is as deft and inventive as you'd expect from the Pogues. It's a great record to play in the early evening in summer, and a fitting end to a fine creative partnership.
on 15 April 2002
Wow! This is their last album together (Shane and The Pogues) and it is obvious why. Gone is the Punk / Folk that was always such fun and in come quiet melodies. Ok, some of these are quite good, I happen to like lorca's novena and the wake of the medusa, but this album is desperately missing those rollicking numbers that made the Pogues who they were. As for the last three tracks, well I listened to them once and instantly deleted them from my play list. Trust me, that really was a fair judgement of them. Once these tracks are removed then the album becomes Ok, not great, but Ok!