Dropkick Murphys - Going Out In Style
2011, Born & Bred Records/ILG
Dropkick Murphys return in 2011 with their seventh studio album, Going Out In Style, playing once again on their trademark mix of Celtic punk and alternative rock that owes at least a nod to The Pogues. The Boston-based septet goes to the wall again and again with great story-telling and vibrant arrangements born of working class struggle. There's even a guest appearance by The Boss himself, Bruce Springsteen.
"Hang 'Em High" is a powerful and rambunctious opener full of warrior spirit. It's easy to see this one becoming a concert favorite with its energy and musicality. "Going Out In Style" is modern twist on the classic drinking tune, advocating facing the end with distilled dignity. "The Hardest Mile" is a commemoration of hard working Irish immigrants who worked themselves into the ground to help build America. Dropkick Murphys imbue this one with tremendous energy in a joyous celebration of shared history. "Cruel" explores the things we can't take back in a story about a rebellious, angry childhood that turns into parental alienation. The narrator looks back on it all now from a time when amends can no longer be made and regrets. Things get a little bland on "Memorial Day", but the band recovers quickly.
"Climbing A Chair To Bed" is another drinking song, of sorts. This one has it all: great picking, great pipes and energy galore. It's danceable, drinkable and wild. "Broken Hymns" comes back to earth in an ode to soldiers who fought they could never win (or even survive). It's a heartfelt memorial that's dark, yet heartfelt and stirring. "Take 'Em Down" sounds like a union anthem, full of a virulent anger and energy that you simply cannot ignore. "Sunday Hardcore Matinee" is a tribute of another fashion, recalling the great rock and roll shows of youth and how they never really lose their allure. This is great, high-energy rock and roll.
"1953" is a tribute of sorts, although the point is painted on opaque lens. Dropkick Murphys paint an aural picture of a bright, snowy December Day and a love story but leaves the important details just out of reach. Bruce Springsteen adds his vocal talents to "Peg 'O My Heart", an upbeat love song played with energy and panache. Going Out In Style does, with a raucous tribute to a ship in the form of "The Irish Rover". This one is full of tongue-in-cheek exaggeration and humor, and is a highly entertaining way to say goodnight.
Dropkick Murphys never fail to entertain with great songwriting/storytelling and high energy arrangements that get stuck in your noggin. Going Out In Style is no different. There are a couple of songs here that don't quite keep pace, but on the whole it's a very strong album worth sticking around for. Dropkick Murphys bring everything they have, whether to the stage or the studio. Even when a particular song misses (not that this happens often), the effort is worth tuning in for.
Rating: 3.5 Stars (Out of 5)
Learn more about Dropkick Murphys at www.dropkickmurphys.com or www.myspace.com/dropkickmurphys. Going Out In Style is available from Amazon.com as a CD or Download. The album is also available from iTunes.