“The boys are back – and they’re looking for a fight”. Thus starts this latest album (the eighth) from Boston’s Dropkick Murphys.. one of a handful of bands – alongside the likes of Flogging Molly – who have successfully moulded their Irish heritage onto a hardcore/punk sound.
While 2011’s ‘Going Out In Style’ might have marked something of a departure for the band – it was a dark, complex concept album (and also their most commercially successful), which featured a collaboration with Bruce Springsteen, with its title taken by many to signal a different type of departure for the band – ‘Signed And Sealed…’ sees the Murphys returning to their more anarchic roots.
The aforesaid opening track sets the tone, a punkish, folksy arm-waving anthem, while ‘Prisoner’s Song’ is a rebellious punky jig, which in turn is complemented by the lovelorn sea shanty shenanigans of ‘Rose Tattoo’, which is by turns haunting and danceable. ‘Burn’ is a boisterous and exuberant high-speed reel, and the invitation to celebrate ‘Jimmy Collins’ Wake’ easily kicks anything ever produced by The Pogues into the cow shed in the middle of the next field.
Ironically, for an album that’s being released in early January, the DMs can’t resist a wee poke at old Crimbo time, on the gloriously hysterical ‘The Season’s Upon Us’, which is mischievously mayhemic and definitely races to the top of my personal list of the most appropriately inappropriate Christmas toons. This song alone is a work of pure feckin’ genius: pass the whiskey ‘round and enjoy…
The party continues with the relentless pace of ‘The Battle Rages On’ while ‘Don’t Tear Us Apart’ mixes the right blend of melancholia and dancehall celebration. ‘My Hero’ is a guaranteed floor-filler, while ‘Out Of Our Heads’ brings in another of the Murphys’ characteristic themes – good time rockabilly mixed with rambunctious bagpipes and a rollicking riff, and ‘Out On The Town’ is a riotous recitation of a typical night fuelled by music and booze… before ‘End Of The Night’ brings things to a close with an ironically lullabiac refrain of “we ain’t going home…”
You don’t have to be Oirish to join this party – it might help, ‘cos we’re gonna drink the rest of you feckers under the table as we sink another pint of black, chase it with a wee gold and stick this on repeat…[10/10]
- The Boys Are Back
- Prisoner’s Song
- Rose Tattoo
- Jimmy Collins’ Wake
- The Season’s Upon Us
- The Battle Rages On
- Don’t Tear Us Apart
- My Hero
- Out Of Our Heads
- Out On The Town
- End Of The Night
‘Signed And Sealed In Blood’ is released on the band’s own Born And Bred Records on January 7th.
The Dropkick Murphys play the following dates in Ireland and the UK in January:
12th/13th – Vicar St, Dublin
15th – HMV Ritz, Manchester
16th – Barrowlands, Glasgow
17th – Rock City, Nottingham
18th/19th – HMV Forum, London
Support on all dates, except Dublin, comes from Crowns.
Official website: http://www.dropkickmurphys.com/