|Dropkick Murphys – ’11 Stories About Pain & Glory’ (Born & Bred Records)|
|Written by Nick Russell|
|Tuesday, 10 January 2017 04:30|
Twenty-one years into their history and the Dropkick Murphys are somewhat of an institution these days. Their Celtic infused punk has hit a chord with many a rocker, loud and snotty at times but equally tuneful, and above all, very uplifting. Yes, the lyrics can sometimes be hard hitting and meaningful, especially here, but you’ll always enjoy and feel better after listening to them. You know what you’re going to get with a Murphy’s record, and very rarely do they disappoint.
‘The Lonesome Boatman’ starts off instrumental, the sort of tune you might find playing over the top of a tourist board advert for rolling green hills, before it turns into a bit of a sing-a-long stomper, a perfect intro for a live show. ‘Rebels With A Cause’ has that old school punky vibe to it, unsurprising considering the songs about those kids that the “system” writes off and slip through the gaps. The tune to ‘Blood’ has a very familiar feel to me, but can’t quite put my finger on where but will be a sing-a-long live fave. The best way I can describe ‘Sandlot’ is that it’s like a Celtic Crowded House!
The more traditional folky sound returns on ‘First Class Loser’, followed by ‘Paying My Way’, a thoughtful track about trying to get away from addiction. It starts off sounding uncannily like the intro to Queens ‘We Will Rock You’ before it turns into quite a poppy piano driven tune. ‘I Had A Hat’ is a faster paced folk punk song, whilst ‘Kicked To The Curb’ has a real Cali surf punk/Ramones feel to it.
As for the next track, a cover of the Anfield anthem, ‘You’ll Never Walk Alone’, I’m somewhat torn. As a devout fan of the red half of Liverpool, this songs holds a great reverence to me, so anybody who dares to cover it could be in trouble. It’s not a bad version by any means, I’m certain rocking manager Jurgen Klopp would approve, me, I’m not so sure. ‘4-15-13’ is a personal tribute to the terrorist attack in Boston three years ago, the Murphys being such a band that they couldn’t ignore what happened in their beloved hometown. The song has a shuffling drum beat along to a typical DM folky tune. The final song here is ‘Until The Next Time’, which has an old-school David Bowie vibe to it, again slightly unusual.
Overall, this album has a lot more of a poppy sound to it compared with previous works, not quite as gritty or punky, but with all the elements you would expect. Any one of the 11 tracks here could be a single, with memorable choruses, but it’s just not quite as hard hitting as you (or I) might want from the Boston Boys. And you know that in the live environment, some of these songs will just kill.
A not quite so in-your-face Dropkick Murphys album is still way better than a lot of bands could muster.
Dropkick Murphys play Brixton O2 Academy on Friday 27 January.