After playing the biggest headline show of their career at the Shepherd’s Bush Empire, Creeper have released their brand new Christmas EP. Previewed by their take on The Pogues’ festive favourite, Fairytale of New York, the EP features two other new recordings. There’s the band’s own Xmas song Same Time Next Year?, as well as a stripped-back version of Blue Christmas, the enduring seasonal standard made famous by Elvis Presley.
Creeper are putting the finishing touches on 2017 by sharing their take on The Pogues Xmas classic, Fairytale of New York. It’s a faithful adaptation which adds some raw Creeper energy to the original, as Will Gould and Hannah Greenwood add some of their own flourishes to their reprisal of Shane MacGowan and Kirsty MacColl’s duet. The track will feature on the band’s new Xmas EP which will be released on December 8th. This weekend also sees Creeper embark upon the Theatre of Fear UK tour which will take their theatrical presentation to a whole new level.
Rum, Sodomy & The Lash [Re-issue]Rhino Records
By Bobby Gorman
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, without The Pogues there would be no Flogging Molly, no Dropkick Murphys, no Bloody Irish Boys, no Tossers; and the list just goes on. They were one of the first bands to fuse some energy into the Celtic sound and genre and had an untold influence on bands who formed afterwards. And while it would be hard to really forget MacGowan and the gang, Rhino wants to make it’s even harder and has recently re-released their entire catalogue with some extra songs tagged onto each release (many of which appeared on 2001’s The Very Best Of); and this is one of those releases.
Rum, Sodomy & The Lash was the band’s second release, and the release that really helped cement their identity. With Elvis Costello behind the knobs, The Pogues crew in size adding more traditional instruments and an extra guitarist to create a vibrant album full of songs about death, loss and drinking. Most of this album leans towards the Irish Folk sound, with a slower tempo then you would find on the band’s later releases (like their follow up, If I Should Fall From Grace With God which really picks it up a notch on a few tracks), but there’s still a certain kick to the songs that is certainly undeniable. ThinkFlogging Molly with more traditional instrument and less punk guitar. MacGowan’s vocals are angry and strong throughout, with a touch of venom in them on songs like Billy Bones, Sally MacLennane andThe Gentleman Soldier. But he’s also able to slow it down a tad with songs like The Old Main Drag (an emotional song retelling the tale of MacGowan’s childhood in London), the five minute single A Pair Of Brown Eyes and the eight minute closer The Band Played Waltzing Matilda. Although, one of the more surprising moments of the album comes from I’m A Man You Don’t Meet Every Day which sees Cait O’Riordan taking lead vocal duties instead of MacGowan – leaning a bit towards the classic Christmas song that they would later release with Kirsty MacColl.
Now, to say that Rum, Sodomy & The Lash is for everyone would be a complete lie; you do need to have a certain open mindedness to really enjoy them. After all, some people will be very disturbed by the inclusion of so many traditional instruments like tin whistle, banjo, and accordion. But if you’re able to accept that The Pogues don’t play straight up punk rock but rather Irish music fused with a bit of a punch, then you’ll discover a solid release from front to back. It’s tight, catchy and energetic; and unlike some bonus tracks on the Rhino re-releases, this one seems to have received a good selection of bonus tracks.London Girl and Rainy Night In Soho are both great songs to be added as they show a slightly different side of the band then what you find on the rest of the releases.
The Pogues were a great band, and this album is just part of their greatness. Even now, twenty two years after the original release, Rum, Sodomy & The Lash can still be played repeatedly. I will admit though that I like If I Should Fall From Grace With God more just because that has a harsher feel to it and this is a slightly more traditional release (well, as traditional as The Pogues can get).
If I Should Fall From Grace With God [Re-issue]Rhino Records
By Bobby Gorman
I’m a young punk fan. There’s nothing I can do to change that fact. I’m young, and that means that there are a tons of influential bands that I never got into or ever really heard. Of course there are the massive bands like Sex Pistols, The Clash, The Ramones, Descendents, Bad Religion and so forth that all punks, new and old, know about. But, at the same time there are the slightly smaller, but just as influential bands that we youngsters must explore to truly appreciate where our current music came from. Bands like Jawbreaker, Gorilla Biscuits, Sunny Day Real Estate, Black Flag, Rocket from The Crypt, Dead Kennedys and so forth are bands that need to be heard despite not being incredibly famous. The Pogues are one of those bands too, and with Rhino Records re-releasing their entire back catalogue, I’m finally getting a chance to hear yet another prolific band during the high of their careers.
If at anytime during the past few years you’ve called yourself a fan of the likes of Flogging Molly, Dropkick Murphys or The Tossers, then you need to hear The Pogues because the instant If I should Fall From Grace With God starts playing, you hear the untold influence this band held over its followers.
The songs are slow, yet oddly energizing. They are a return to folk, with English and Irish sub roots and heavily accented vocals. Songs of gambling, drinking mixed with songs of love and old traditional anthems re-done. They are songs of hope and longing, giving the listener a sensation of nostalgia – it works even for me, despite the fact that I was barely one when this album was released. The songs are timeless, even now, 17 years after the release, the songs are still relatable. It is Irish folk rock, full blown with tin whistle, banjo, accordion, and the likes; and without them, there would be no Flogging Molly or Bloody Irish Drinking Boys.
The entire album showcases Shane McGowan’s song writing ability. Switching from the Christmas duet with Kristy MacColl, to the fast drinking/gambling song Bottle Of Smoke back to the five-minute longThousands Are Sailing telling the tale of Irish immigrants moving to America. There are a few instrumentals that could be missed (particularly the bonus instrumentals which have been added to the release in this new version), but other than that the album shows what Celtic rock can be.
If I Should Fall From Grace With God is one of five re-releases from Rhino, all of which come with bonus songs and extended booklet; and I know for sure that it won’t be the only out of the five I’ll be hearing. After all, The Pogues were incredibly influential and this CD shows exactly why they were.