The Snake

Source: The Dayton Daily News
Author: unknown
Contributor: DzM
Copyright: (c) The Dayton Daily News 1995

You’d have to drink an awful lot to get kicked out of the Pogues , but somehow Shane MacGowan managed it.

MacGowan, the ground-breaking Celtic rock band’s former singer, returns sounding stronger than ever – if no less sober – on his solo debut, The Snake . The album, which features MacGowan’s new group, the Popes , recalls the boisterous sound of the early Pogues, blending traditional Irish spirit with irreverant punk attititude.

It’s far superior to Pogues’ more progressive, post-MacGowan release, Waiting for Herb .

With his gritty, slurred delivery and poetic lyrics, the singer comes across as a bleary-eyed pub bard on songs such as Victoria : ”Victoria, left me in opium euphoria/ With a fat monk singing Gloria My girl with green eyes.” The Snake’s 15 tracks include lilting Irish traditionals such as Nancy Whiskey and The Rising of the Moon , as well as full-tilt rockers such as That Woman’s Got Me Drinking . MacGowan’s harsh, ragged vocals are contrasted with the soft, breathy voice of Sinead O’Connor on Haunted .

One can only guess at the condition of his liver, but The Snake finds MacGowan firmly on his feet.