Ok, I’m bad at time management and have waited until the last minute to pack for a ten day trip that I leave for tomorrow(should still be able to update), and I have almost no time left in my day. So today’s album review going live depends on me not looking at something incredibly dense like The King of Limbs.
So thank God and cheap booze for Boston’s Celtic punks the Dropkick Murphys releasing Going Out In Style this week. Dropkick’s a pretty reliable band; any new release of theirs is going to be a blast of blue collar punk rock with thrilling Celtic elements. You might even get a hilarious cover of a traditional Irish song in the mix. And dammit, the album is going to be fun.
Going Out In Style doesn’t do a damn thing to change this up. The singular change from 2007’s The Meanest of Times is that Going Out In Style is a concept record, but that’s only really informed from linear notes (including the obituary of our protagonist, Cornelius Larkin). Before you get worried over Dropkick Murphys doing a concept record, Cornelius is something of an allegory for the band and their folklore, so we’re still in prime Dropkick territory.
And that’s a great place to be. Opener “Hang’em High” is a great setup for the title track. “Going Out In Style” surges with drunken jubilant celebration (oh yeah, and a guest appearance by Fat Mike), and is sure to find its way on St. Patrick’s Day playlists the world over. The boys go freewheeling through “The Hardest Mile”, too, before kicking down a gear with “Cruel” (although the results are still great).
Civil War story “Broken Hymns” shows some surprising lyrical depth and a solemn pace, begging for lighter to go in the air. The acoustics on that song come back for “Take’Em Down”, a homage to The Clash if I ever heard one. If the band wasn’t so instrumentally solid, “Take’Em Down” would fall flat, but here it’s a great blue collar drinkin’ song.
Bruce Springsteen, The Boss himself, appears on the ramped up traditional cover (I called it!) “Peg O’ My Heart”, sounding more youthful and carefree than he has in years. Between “Peg O’ My Heart” and “The Irish Rover”, Going Out In Style closes on the same raucous, shout-along-I-dare-ya note that it began on.
There’s albums to mope about, and then there’s Going Out In Style, an album that pulls you in with one of its many hooks and never lets go. Ken Casey, Al Barr, and the rest of the bunch knock their way through somber tunes and electrified punk outs with an unseen tenacity. It’s fun, energetic, and one of my first favorite albums of the year. It’s even a notch about the usual Dropkick standard, four stars out of five.
tl;dr: St. Patty’s Day came early, four of five stars.