Shane MacGowan is the kind of singer who could turn "Ave Maria" into a bawdy drinking tune. His ragged voice and slurred speech made everything he sang with his former Celtic-flavored rock band, the Pogues, sound like an ode to a distillery. He certainly isn't taking the clean-and-sober approach on his first outing with his new band, the Popes.
There are a few of the traditional penny-whistle-and-Irish-harp songs jazzed up with catchy pop melodies, just like those the Pogues used to do. But from rowdy tunes like "The Church of the Holy Spook" and "That Woman's Got Me Drinking," it's clear the Popes have more of a reckless rock attitude. Sure it's sloppy-sounding, but it's still lots of fun. One listen to MacGowan rumbling his way through any of these songs and your blood-alcohol level goes up beyond the legal limit. (Warner Bros.)