March 9, 2011

Test Spin: The Dropkick Murphys

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We’ve waited four years since The Meanest of Times for this band to dropkick us another album, but it was definitely worth the wait, as the seventh studio album from the Dropkick Murphys is as enchanting as it is inspirational.

Going Out In Style is by far the most imaginative of all of Dropkick’s albums. Inspired by Irishman James Joyce’s 1939 Finnegan’s Wake, the band members pack their own life stories and Irish-American folklore into the album’s story, the tale of Cornelius Larkin. The album not only tells the tale of Larkin’s life and heritage but also serves to ensnare the thoughts and emotions of the Dropkick Murphys as a whole and to give them a new, even louder voice.

The album is fierce to say the least; it’s jam-packed with nasty guitar riffs and unforgettable lyrics. With a little help from their friends — Bruce Springsteen, Fat Mike from NOFX and Chris Cheney from The Living End — Dropkick manages to create an epic saga on a 13-track album.

Going Out In Style kicks off with “Hang ’Em High,” a punchy throwback to “I’m Shipping Up To Boston,” that obliterates any skepticism about Dropkick’s seventh studio album. The second track “Going Out In Style” continues Larkin’s tale from where “Hang ‘Em High” left off — with Larkin fearlessly engaged in battle. The band pulls out all stops with a power-packed, characteristically Irish sound and killer lyrics.

And as if the album couldn’t get any better, the Boss pops into “Peg O’ My Heart,” a brilliant musical collaboration that oozes folk influence and puts Springsteen’s 37 percent Irish heritage to the test. And never one to turn a blind eye to over-stepping authority figures, Dropkick dedicated “Take ’Em Down” to the striking union workers in Wisconsin with an energetic beat and adequately angst-fueled lyrics: “When the boss comes callin’ don’t you sell your soul; when the boss comes callin’ we gotta organize.”

Going Out In Style is so creative and so full of life that it’s hard not to fall for these Celtic punk rockers. Who knows? Even Yankee fans might be swayed.

— Heather McAdams

Original Author: Heather McAdams