Musical Taste: Dropkick Murphys – Going Out in Style

Dropkick Murphys – Going Out in Style

St. Patricks Day is next week, so it seems only appropriate that in building up to a week of blackouts and pretending to be Irish, those staples of Boston Irish Punk, Dropkick Murphys would release a new whiskey and folklore infused record. And with their first in four years, the Murphys have hit a high note with Going Out in Style.

The album takes a concept road, telling the story of the death and life of a character named Cornelius Larkin. Starting with the raucous event of his wake, we’re taken through wars that he fought in, remembered family history and lovers he’s had. On some level, there’s a lot to live up to after the title track, which cracks you over the head with a bottle and takes you on a spin around the room, but the rest of the album steps up admirably.

Dropkick Murphys have always had a hallmark of blending a newer punk sound with traditional cultural instruments such as bagpipes and accordions and they keep up that tradition here. Even on songs that are more straight-faced punk anthems (“Sunday Hardcore Matinee” in particular, about the early ’80s hardcore scene), the driving accordion makes you less want to slam than do a jig.  And they do slow it down for a few tracks, with “Broken Hymns,” a Civil War story, being a standout, taking almost the form of a battle march, whistles and bagpipes beneath understated guitar work.

One of the few misses, oddly, is one of the otherwise coolest moments on the album. The Murphys, earlier this year, contacted Bruce Springsteen and asked him if he’d like to make an appearance on their update of 1913 Broadway song, “Peg ‘O My Heart.” The Boss said sure, but sadly the song, while good, feels the most simple on the album, perhaps because it was one of the few not written by the band themselves. Even given less to work with, Springsteen sounds great and fits in fine with the band, belting out his vocals over the driving music with power and ease. The album does end on a high note, with another traditional song updated in “The Irish Rover,” a shipwreck ballad that the Murphys do proud.

With a minor misstep here and there, Going Out in Style is overall a success. The band keeps up their well known high energy and thankfully, this isn’t the swan song the title implies. As a soundtrack for this time of year, you could do worse.

(Video language slightly NSFW)

Posted on March 7, 2011 at 11:21 by Lincoln Eddy · Permalink
In: Music, Reviews · Tagged with: , , , , ,

One Response

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  1. Written by Arkonbey
    on March 8, 2011 at 21:19
    Permalink

    Gotta love Bobby Orr and Fenway references.

    I’m reminded of their “Finnegan’s Wake”

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