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Fear and Loathing
on 14 January 2008
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.