This is what I always wished the Pogues sounded like when I listened to their albums: songs born of Irish ballads that fill in the sound; songs that maintain the sense of self‑loathing and downtroddenness, but add some chunks of Chuck Berry style rock'n'roll along with whiskey and gravel and hope from the hopeless. The Filthy Thieving Bastards are a side project for Johnny Bonnel and Darius Koski from the Swingin' Utters (along with various musicians filling in on drums, mandolin, banjo, bass, and percussion). Musically, it's a pretty big departure from the Swingin' Utters, but they retain the spot‑on lyrics ("So deep in debt I just might get the bends"), the catchy melodies, and the general sense of "how do they make this sound so good?" And, on a personal note, I have to love an album with pictures of James Joyce, Jack Kerouac, and Charles Bukowski on the back cover. This is definitely one of the records we're all wrestling for here at Razorcake HQ.