11 Short Stories of Pain and Glory
Born and Bred Records
Celtic punk rockers Dropkick Murphys smash a ninth album out into their discography with all the fuel and fire of their previous works, plus all the extra experience that almost twenty years in the business brings. Eleven short songs with folk style lyrics played in a raucous comparable to a pirate den are laid down in an honest and raw production.
The first track brings a feel of the distant mountains, shrouded in a cloak of mist and legend. The masculine banter style melody that roars into action alongside heavy guitars and happy-clappy drums drag our folk bones from the peat bog and cause an element of traditional dancing to sweep across the cold hillside. It sounds like they're having a good time, and that speaks stories. Track two kicks into gear and the vocalist begins to sing. Fast paced verses about life and trouble, catchy chorus lines and shouted exclamations of honour make the fleshed out Rebels with a Cause stand out immediately.
An atmosphere of jollity and humour lines the music, a heavy beat and a guitar riff based progression make it fun and menacing without being disturbing or hard to listen to. Blood brings the pace down to a walking speed and the energy of traditional folk is relit once more with the classic pipes sound and chanting that gives rise to bravado and self flattery. It's a bit much, but if you're a lad's lad, then I can well imagine this doing something for the self esteem. For me, it's just a little too threatening to enjoy. I never asked for blood, stop putting words in my mouth.
Again, another track about how great their life was when they were children makes it even harder to sit back and get into the groove. I don't really want to be reminded that other people have great lives, when I was young, life wasn't easy. I guess I wasn't a tough kid and I had a deep sense of morals, but for these punk rockers, being bad and devious seems to have been really great for them. I don't think I'll ever understand the appeal of always being in trouble, its a horrible feeling. I'm not sure who this band are speaking to, maybe it's you.
Another fun melody is crafted from the mania and at first I'm impressed with the words, describing someone he doesn't like and why. Apart from the employment snobbery, every other complaint seems legit. First Class Loser makes a mockery of people who are annoying. I assume they're talking about people like me. The album chugs along, song by song, each bringing something slightly new to the well loved formula that gives this punk rock band a sense of folk and tradition. It's fun, bouncy, and if you like punk music, it's probably really good.