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3.6 out of 5 stars
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3.6 out of 5 stars
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on 6 February 2006
Following the success of their 1987 album If I Should Fall from Grace with God, The Pogues decide to re-enlist the skills of producer Steve Lilywhite, whilst continuing the more mainstream assimilation of their sound following that perennial yuletide smash Fairytale of New York. The only problem was, the band were falling apart... with many squabbles relating to the distribution of royalties and song writing credits, and MacGowan reportedly disappearing into the bottom of a glass. The songs here are certainly not as strong as those on Red Roses for Me, Rum Sodomy and the Lash and If I Should Fall From Grace..., with the band largely cannibalising their own back catalogue, whilst simultaneously taking their new found fondness for radio friendly pop into the realms of anonymity.
It's not completely worthless, but arriving on the back of their (then) greatest single and three albums that still stand up to this day, Peace and Love is patchy at best and cringe-worthy at worst. Things seemed doomed from the outset with jazz-tinged instrumental Gridlock, which is fine, if you haven't already heard the jazz-tinged Metropolis from the album that came before (they're essentially the same song!!). We then move into White City, which is a nice piece of MacGowan by numbers, with the Celtic influence apparent alongside the power-pop production. It's one of the standouts of the album, and probably wouldn't have seemed out of place on Rum Sodomy... barring the over-production. Young Ned of the Hill is a change of pace, a Terry Woods song with a stronger traditional influence than any Pogues song before, with some fine instrumental touches (banjo, drums, tin-whistle) and a nice confrontational lyric.
Both Cotton Fields and Blue Heaven are dead spots (as far as I'm concerned), with the former sounding like a piece of self-parody that probably would have felt more at home on a Popes album, whilst the latter, with it's calypso/bossa-nova rhythms and holiday camp sing-along chorus feels completely wrong for the band who'd previously given us the storming re-interpretations of the likes of The Auld Triangle, The Gentleman Soldier and The Band Played Waltzing Matilda. Things finally pick up with Jem Finer's great MacGowan-style ballad Misty Morning, Albert Bridge, which could easily be ranked amongst earlier joys like Kitty, A Pair of Brown Eyes and the Broad Majestic Shannon. It's a short lived peak, however, with subsequent songs like Down All the Days (a biographical look at the life of Irish artist Christy Brown - see My Left Foot - which comes across as crass and patronising, with dull lyrics, dodgy sound-effects and a weak melody) and USA (which is very 80's, has a melody that sounds like a slowed down take on the earlier Cotton Fields, and shows MacGowan attempting an unconvincing Nick Cave style growl) really standing as some of the worst material the Pogues have ever produced.
Other standouts include Lorelei - Philip Chevron's great melding of the Pogues more familiar sound with an almost U2/Cranberries style power pop - which has a great melody, affecting lyrics and backing vocals from the late Kirsty McColl, Boat Train, which comes close to the classic Pogues sound of Rum Sodomy..., Night Train to Lorca, which overcomes the fact that it sounds exactly the same as Turkish Song of the Damned from If I Should Fall..., and the closing track, London You're a Lady, which, along with Boat Train and White City represents MacGowan at his best (both in the writing and performance) in terms of this particular album.
A lot of the vocals are handled by other members of the band - with many reporting that MacGowan was often too out of it to perform, meaning that Terry Woods, Phillip Chevron and Daryl Hunt all had to take over the vocal duties on a number of tracks - whilst the integration of the different styles and genres (including jazz, pop, calypso and rock) alongside the classic Pogues sound is considered by many (including MacGowan, according to his A Drink with Shane... book) to be the beginning of the end. Peace and Love is certainly a step down for the band following those three great albums that came before, with the group dismissing Lillywhite for their next album (and MacGowan's last with the band) Hell's Ditch, in favour of former clash frontman Joe Strummer. Peace and Love is a patchy and disappointing album (for me), though is one that I would still recommend to people who already have the first three definitive albums, but still want to hear more!!
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Things were not going well on Planet Pogue before the release of `Peace and Love'. The Success of their previous album meant they had been asked to open on Bob Dylan's tour, a very highly regarded accolade for any band, but generally not given to bands whose singer absconds on the eve of the tour. The only output between the two albums was the single `Yeah, Yeah, Yeah, Yeah, Yeah' the title of which alone would suggest MacGowan was not writing as he had been on the previous trilogy of albums where he hadn't put a foot wrong.

Of the six MacGowan originals on the album, one of which is an instrumental, seems so suggest writers block of staggering proportions. `White City' is possibly the greatest MacGowan composition on the album and was a logical choice for a single. `London You're a Lady', `USA' and `Boat Train' are enjoyable MacGowan romps but cover themes explored previously with greater success. `Down All the Days' and `Cotton Fields' are a bit Pogues by numbers and I imagine MacGowan can barely remember writing them. I know I can hardly member hearing them.

The remainder of the album is made up by writing contributions by the other members of the band and would have made for a reasonable album but not a reasonable Pogues album, it could only be a poor Pogues album.

Terry Woods songs have a authentic Irish Folk voice but that does not necessarily make for good listening and this shows on `Young Ned of the Hill' and `Gartoney Rats'. Philip Chevron is by now writing pop songs which are enjoyable enough but both `Blue Heaven' and `Lorelei' jar against the remainder of the album.

The only other writer is Jem Finer who would previously collaborate with MacGowan and has certainly learnt how to write in his style. `Misty Morning, Albert Bridge' is certainly more MacGowan than the MacGowan compositions on this album and was worthy as its selection as a single. `Night Train to Lorca' and `Tombstone' possibly lower his average slightly.

All in all the worst Pogues album made with MacGowan on board. As MacGowan said of his audience in his biography `A Drink with Shane MacGowan' `I think they put up with the crap, so they could hear the good stuff', spot on.
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on 7 March 2005
In many ways this is most curious Pogues album, not least because the majority of the tracks are offering from other members of the band rather than the up until then main songwriter and lead singer, Shane MacGowan. In fact most of the tracks from the other guys are also sung by them, making this one of the least MacGowan influenced album at all.
There's still some MacGowan gems on the album though, "London you're a Lady" is a lovely sentimental traditional sounding tune, "Boat Train" is a Pogues-sounding classic of drunken punk-folk and both "White City" and "Cotton Fields" are solid tuneful tracks that would slot nicely on any Pogues album. MacGowan's singing, never the clearest and always benefiting from the gravely-slur seems to have lost all control at times and it can be relief to move onto a track sung by one of the others.
Terry Woods weighs in with two traditional sounding songs, the jig of "Gartloney Rats" and "Young Ned of the Hill", a protest song 400 years too late, but still a brilliant song. Phillip Chevron also has two tracks on the album, the almost calypso sounding "Blue Heaven" (co-written with Darryl Hunt) and the gorgeous "Lorelei" a guitar driven rock song of the highest quality.
Finally there's Jem Finer, who contributes four songs to the album, "Gridlock" with Andrew Rankin, a drum fuelled jazz introduction to the album, the maudlin "Tombstone" and the dark Arabic sounding "Night Train to Lorca". His final track "Misty Morning, Albert Bridge" is probably the stand out track on the whole album, which is just an unashamedly beautiful love song.
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on 19 February 2012
The Pogues seemed to be trying to expand their audience with Peace and Love through a fusion of various musical styles. One can make the argument that the fusion began with If I Should Fall from Grace with God, but with that release MacGowan was still in control and the album worked. Peace and Love was more like the Beatles' White Album in that several individual songwriters were recording their material in the way they wanted. The difference was that the Beatles had three gifted songwriters. The Pogues had one. On a good day, maybe one and a half.
MacGowan penned just six of the album's fourteen songs. Finer, Woods, Chevron, Rankin, and Hunt all contributed material. Part of the problem was that MacGowan was not part of the fusion process on the other Pogues' songs. Whereas MacGowan and Finer had co-written songs on previous albums, when Finer collaborated on Peace and Love it was with Andrew Rankin. Phil Chevron co-wrote one of the album's tracks with Daryl Hunt. Terry Woods collaborated with fellow Irishman Ron Kavana. "I couldn't play what I wanted," MacGowan said in an interview. "On the Pogues' best album, If I Should Fall From Grace with God, me and Jem wrote every note, apart from the traditional numbers which I arranged... but after that, things changed."
MacGowan's best songs on Peace and Love are probably "White City," "Down All the Days," "London You're a Lady," and "Boat Train." "Cotton Fields" and "USA," both written while the Pogues were touring America, do little to enhance Shane's reputation as a top songwriter. While both songs deal with the USA, neither touch on Irish immigration, a theme he handled so deftly on previous albums. Instead, he seems to focus on inner turmoil, perhaps brought on by dissatisfaction with the direction the Pogues were taking. A sense of martyrdom is apparent in "Cotton Fields'" when Shane sings the refrain, "They're gonna crucify you." In place of allusions to Irish history or culture, the tracks have references to an old American folk song and "The Battle Hymn of the Republic." If there is a redeeming factor to the pair of songs it's Shane's vocal.
"White City" fares better. The song is about urban development, particularly the razing of a London Greyhound dog-racing track where Shane's father sometimes gambled. Admittedly, there's no magic in the lyrics, but the track rocks along nicely and Shane's vocal is excellent. "White City" is one of the few tracks from Peace and Love that survived on concert set lists beyond the year or so that the Pogues toured in support of the album.
"Down All the Days" is about Christy Brown, the Irish novelist who died in 1981. Brown was born with cerebral palsy, which left him unable to control his limbs, except for his left foot. Amazingly, he learned to write and eventually to type with it. A 1989 film version of his autobiography received five Oscar nominations, including Best Picture. MacGowan's song was intended for the movie but was not used. Perhaps the line "I type with me toes, I suck stout through me nose," something Brown didn't do, was the reason the song was turned down.
On first listen "London You're a Lady" holds out a tremendous promise that it never fully delivers. MacGowan's vocal is excellent. The lyrics expose his love-hate relationship with the city in an extended metaphor that at times reaches fine heights. The pulsing "heart" of the city and the streets and or buildings compared to "scarred up thighs" work nicely. The metaphor is especially effective when referencing the Lady's apparel with the lines "Red busses skirt your hem. Your head dress is a string of lights." Unfortunately, the lyric's beauty evaporates quickly in the last verse when Shane sings "Your piss is like a river. Its scent is beer and gin." Musically "London You're a Lady" brings to mind several Irish flavored MacGowan classics, particularly "Broad Majestic Shannon." The elegant, striding tune soars confidently towards what listeners feel sure will be a classic bridge, but it never materializes. Overall, the track has the feel of a nearly great song that was finished too quickly. James Fearnley has said that although it has an unbeatable melody, some of the Pogues agreed, "he could have had another pass at the words."
My favorite track on Peace and Love is "Boat Train." It's hard not to appreciate a song that begins "I met with Napper Tandy and I shook him by the hand. He said `Hold me up for Chrissake, for I can hardly stand.'" Despite the reference to Napper Tandy, a leader in the Irish Rebellion of 1798, the song is not nationalistic. It's about the ferry, or boat train, that runs between Ireland and England. It's a joyful, up-tempo romp about drinking, gambling, and generally carrying on during the voyage across the Irish Sea.
Peace and Love does contain a song about Irish nationalism, but MacGowan didn't write it. "Young Ned of the Hill," co-authored by Terry Woods and Ron Kavana, concerns the Irish fight against Oliver Cromwell's invading English army in the 17th century.
In addition to the six songs MacGowan wrote for Peace and Love, he put his stamp on two more of the album's tracks. He did the vocals on "Night Train to Lorca" and "Misty Morning, Albert Bridge," both written by Jem Finer. Of the two "Misty Morning, Albert Bridge" is easily the better. It has an Irish feel that brings to mind some of the Pogues' best slow numbers.
Actually, the bands' decision to take the musical fusion up a notch at the expense of their Irish roots and MacGowan's preferences was commercially successful. Peace and Love may have alienated MacGowan, but the broadening of the Pogues' musical styles increased their appeal well beyond the limited audience that their Irish folk styles initially attracted. The album debuted in the UK at number five and spent two months on the charts. One reviewer actually wrote that Peace and Love was superior to the Poguetry in Motion EP, which included "A Rainy Night in Soho" and "Body of an American," surely two of MacGowan's best works. To put that reviewer's commendation in perspective, it should also be noted that he raved about "My Blue Heaven," a sappy Phil Chevron/Daryl Hunt pop song on Peace and Love that Chevron himself has called "rubbish." Despite the positive public response in 1989, eventually even the Pogues themselves seemed to have realized the album's shortcomings. While they performed most of the record's songs in subsequent tours to support the release, within a year the only non-MacGowan song from Peace and Love left in the live set list was "Young Ned of the Hill." Rake at the Gates of Hell: Shane MacGowan in Context
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on 5 April 2001
After the career peak of 1988's If I Should Fall From Grace with God LP, the Pogues were never the same again. Constant touring, creative differences and over-indulgence in booze and drugs would soon lead to their demise, but this LP contains much to savour along with a certain amount of quite dodgy stuff. Previously, Shane MacGowan had written most of the band's material, but now other Pogues spread their songwriting wings and this is what lends the album its disjointed tone. Two lesser Pogues contribute the opening instrumental 'Gridlock' which, though a blatant attempt to recreate the previous album's 'Metropolis', still provides a gripping opening and a good introduction to the frenetic energy cancelling itself out which really characterises the album: talented musicians at cross purposes. Jem Finer writes the majestic and lovely ballad 'Misty Morning, Albert Bridge', the mid-paced potboiler 'Night Train to Lorca' and the mournful and tuneless 'Tombstone'. Terry Woods writes the rollicking 'Gartony Rats' and the bombastic and rancorous 'Young Ned of the Hill'. Phil Chevron contributes the cheesy and embarrassing 'My Blue Heaven' and 'Lorelei', a song I'm afraid I find an over-earnest dirge. MacGowan's six songs are the best, though he struggles to find the form of previous albums and his singing voice is shot completely. The outstanding songs are 'White City', an energetic lament for the dog racing stadium which was demolished to make way for the BBC Headquarters, 'USA', a hellish nightmare journey through a continent of darkness, and 'Boat Train', a headbanging narrative of excess and illness from Dublin to London via Holyhead which leaves the listener reeling. Shane's other songs are really doodles or, in the case of 'London You're a Lady', overproduced to the point of ruination. So the album is a mess, but not without its moments - in many ways like the band that created it. I'm actually rather fond of this LP.
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Set against the refreshing & colourful musical landscape painted by the first three albums, The Pogues' 1989 follow-up to career-highlight `If I should fall from Grace with God' is a lacklustre affair. There is scant evidence here of real fire-in-the-belly, or the riotous energy of the band's earlier output. The reason usually cited is McGowan's increasingly erratic behaviour, often so drunk/hung-over he would fail to turn up for performances or recording sessions.

The album does however contain some OK tunes. `White City' & `Misty Morning Albert Bridge' (penned by Jem Finer) are elegies to London neighbourhoods (some people erroneously believe the Pogues to be an Irish band; in fact they were quintessentially a London punk band with some Irish connections), and the catchy calypso-like `Blue Heaven' redolent of `Fiesta' on IIsffGwG. Philip Chevron, Terry Woods and Daryl Hunt all variously step up to the plate and share the writing/singing duties part-vacated by Shane's decline into non-productivity.

The band had a brief revival of form on the subsequent `Hell's Ditch' but unfortunately `Peace & Love' remains a low-point of the McGowan years.
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on 23 March 2004
The Pogues were never just the quintessential Irish emigrant pub band. The drunken slurrings of Shane MacGowan disguise one of the finest songwriting talents of the late 20th century. For his last album with the band that made him infamous, he has the good grace to share the limelight with his bandmates (and let's face it, any band that produces this many talented songwriters has to be worthy of respect!). The album lacks the rawness of predecessors "Rum, Sodomy and the Lash" and "If I Should Fall from Grace with God" - in fact the best songs here are provided by other band members, particularly noteworthy being Philip Chevron's gorgeous "Lorelei" (with the late Kirsty MacColl on backing vocals) and Terry Woods' historical protest rant "Young Ned of the Hill", which says everything there really is to be said about Oliver Cromwell... But for all that, the band is in secure territory here: leftfield drinking songs, laments for days gone by, an occasional burst of political invective, and lots of gorgeous acoustic instrumentation underpinned by the rumble of rhythm guitars. Maybe not quite as exciting as IISFFGWG, but hard to fault.
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on 14 April 2014
Not a proper album to me just bits and bats shoved together that mean nothing to each other . The title peace and love well not really . Some decent offeringings from band members but not enough to count for anything ?
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on 5 March 2001
This is a hugely underrated album, probably because the general opinion is that the Pogues without Shane McGowan aren't anything special. Rubbish. McGowan does appear on the album and is in good form with now-established classics such as Misty Morning Albert Bridge and White City. But the rest of the band chip in liberally throughout the album, with some fantastic results. There's something for everyone remotely into Irish music, from folk afficianados to rebel-rousers to Irish-American emigres, and perhaps the best ballad ever by this band in Lorelei. There are hefty traditional influences on this album, less eclectic than on a McGowan-centric Pogues album, but equally powerful, and perhaps making their place in the progress of Irish music clearer. It's a little gem.
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on 13 September 2015
Brilliant. Thankyou.
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