Rum Sodomy & the Lash introduced The Pogues to the world the way they were supposed to be. While their debut gave us a glimpse of what they were capable of, Elvis Costello's bare bones production was able to capture the sweat, fire, and angry joy of the band. Front man Shane MacGowan's songwriting was coming into its own at the same time. From the opening of "The Sick Bed of Cúchulainn," it's clear that he was able to fuse the intelligent anger of punk and the sly storytelling of Irish folk in a way no one had before. Songs like the serenade of "The Old Main Drag" and the hypnotizing, drunken character sketch of "A Pair of Brown Eyes" show that MacGowan could take his songwriting in many different directions. The band's renditions of "Dirty Old Town" and "And the Band Played Waltzing Matilda" are particularly compelling, due in no small part to MacGowan's emotionally wrought delivery. Meanwhile, bassist Cait O'Riordan's performance of "I'm a Man You Don't Meet Every Day" is at once haunting and beautiful. Rum Sodomy & The Lash would prove that The Pogues were a great band.
- 180 gram pressing
- music label: Stiff Records 1985 / Rhino Records 2015
reviewed by Hank Ohs 06/2015