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The Pogues - Peace and Love LP
180 gram vinyl, recent reissue.
Shane MacGowan's potent appetite for alcohol was evident from the time the Pogues cut their first album, but by the time they got to work on Peace and Love in 1989, it was evident that he'd gone far past the point of enjoying a few pints (or many pints) and had sunk deep into drug and alcohol dependence. the Pogues were always far more than just MacGowan's backing band, but with the group's principal songwriter and lead singer frequently unable to rise to the occasion, the recording of Peace and Love became a trying experience, with the rest of the band often scrambling to take up the slack for their down-for-the-count frontman. Given the circumstances, the Pogues deliver with greater strength than one might expect on Peace and Love; while MacGowan's vocals are often mush-mouthed and his songwriting is markedly beneath his previous standards, Terry Woods contributes two terrific traditional-style numbers ("Young Ned of the Hill" and "Gartloney Rats"), Philip Chevron's "Lorelei" is a superb tale of lost love (he and Darryl Hunt also teamed up for a fine bit of Celtic-calypso fusion on "Blue Heaven"), and Jem Finer brought along a trio of strong originals.