The Popes ft Shane MacGowan – Outlaw Heaven
Mayhem has surrounded The Popes, ever since Shane MacGowan created them as his backing band in 1994 after he’d been thrown out of The Pogues for “unprofessional” behaviour. They made a couple of studio albums with MacGowan in the 90’s before the singer wandered off into drink-sodden limbo. The Shane-less Popes then scored a critical triumph with their 2000 debut album, Holloway Boulevard, but since then fans have had only a live album and the reissue, Release The Beast, to sustain them.
But at last a second studio album is wrapped and ready to go. Outlaw Heaven is a cathartic collection of songs which run the gamut from punk to country, delivered by a new band assembled by original Pope-in-chief Paul “Mad Dog” McGuinness. The disc resonates with echoes of The Clash, Bo Diddley and a whole history of Irish balladry, but thanks to the influence of new collaborators Charlie Hoskins and Will Morrison, there’s a punchy experimental edge to it too.