DROPKICK MURPHYS

"The Meanest of Times" (Born & Bred Records; 2007)

Reviewed by R. Scott Bolton

 

"The Meanest of Times' may not break any new ground but, if it did, it wouldn't be nearly the solid Dropkick Murphys' CD that it is.

Packed from the first track to the last with the high-energy, Irish-infused punk that the band is famous for, "The Meanest of Times" delivers another solid punch in the mouth. Once again, fans of the band's previous CDs will have no problem finding plenty to like on this one.  Each track is vibrant and alive and it's virtually impossible not to get caught up in the fast-paced guitar, assorted Celtic sounds and roaring bagpipes. 

For the most part, everything races along at a breakneck pace, giving the listener scant opportunity to catch their breath. "Fairmount Hill" is a classic Irish drinking song and Track 7, "Surrender," comes closest to being the band's next radio hit, but the other tracks are so busy pummeling you with their multi-fisted punk attack that radio will be the farthest thing from your mind. 

The thing about punk music is that, in all its many forms, it remains one of the highest energy forms of music out there. The Dropkick Murphys and "The Meanest of Times" is proof positive of that. For my money, I hope they continue to pump out albums that kick ass just this way.

For more information, check out http://www.dropkickmurphys.com

"The Warrior's Code" (Hellcat Records; 2005)

Reviewed by Jeff Rogers

Celtic punk. Yeah, you read that right. How about some good dancing music with bagpipes, guitar and songs about fighting? Well, pull up a chair, laddie, and let me tell you a tale. I've heard some of the Dropkick Murphys over the years but this is one that I'm going to keep on shuffle. The energy these guys play with is pure fun.

These guys tour relentlessly and if you're anywhere near a four leaf clover and in Boston you can probably see them live. They have been around since 1996 and they haven't changed a thing, green beer is still green beer.

If you want something different to play on St. Patrick's Day then I recommend cueing up this rockin' disc.

Dropkick Murphys: Al Barr lead vocals; Ken Casey bass guitar, lead vocals; Matt Kelly drums, bodhran, vocals; James Lynch guitar, vocals; Scruffy Wallace bagpipes, tin whistle; Tim Brennan guitar, accordion, vocals; Jeff DaRosa acoustic guitar, banjo, bouzouki, keyboard, mandolin, whistle, organ, vocals.

For more information, check out http://www.dropkickmurphys.com.

"The Warrior's Code" (Hellcat Records; 2005)

Reviewed by R. Scott Bolton

 

Reviewing CDs by Dropkick Murphys is one of the easiest jobs a music journalist can have. It really boils down to one thing: If you like their previous CDs, you're going to like this one. The band is so consistent in their sound that you know almost exactly what you're going to get when they release a new CD. And, if you're a fan like I am, that's exactly what you want.

Featuring 13 tracks of blistering Celtic punk, laden with screaming bagpipes and soaking with boisterous attitude, "The Warrior's Code" does boast a surprise or two, but never a slap-in-the-face shocker. A few of the tunes hereon are a little more laidback and accessible than one might expect and one or two are even more sharper-edged, but overall it's a Dropkick Murphys album and, throughout, it kicks solid ass.

I certainly don't mean to say that every Dropkick Murphys album sounds the same; that just isn't the case. But the band does have a signature sound and, thankfully, for the most part they stick to it. It worked for the Ramones and it's working for the Dropkick Murphy's, too.

The band stands head and shoulders over their counterparts in the lyrics department. With serious songs about fallen friends, local legends, and the war in Iraq and not-so-serious tunes about overly sensitive gangs, Dropkick Murphys songs are always intelligent and insightful.

Smartly, the band includes "Tessie," as a bonus track here. The song served as the Official Boston Red Sox anthem as they fought their way to a stunning victory in 2004. 

Dropkick Murphys: Al Barr - Lead Vocals; Ken Casey - Lead Vocals, Bass; Matt Kelly - Drums, Bodhran, Vocals; James Lynch - Guitar, Vocals; Marc Orrell - Guitar, Accordion, Vocals; Scruffy Wallace - Bagpipes.

For more information, check out http://www.dropkickmurphys.com

"Blackout" (Hellcat Records; 2003)

Reviewed by R. Scott Bolton

 

The Dropkick Murphys bring their unique brand of punk to yet another fine disc with "Blackout." Loaded with the DKM's version of high-emotion, high-energy rock'n'roll, "Blackout" delivers something that too few punk bands these days manage to deliver: originality.

"Blackout" may not be as edgy as previous DKM albums, but it's still got all of the band's Irish spirit, their intelligent lyrics and their undeniable fiery energy. And the band has never sounded tighter or dynamic. "Blackout" rocks hard throughout, even with  a greater ratio of the slower, more folksier tunes tucked between hard tracks.

"Blackout" is proof positive that, despite the doomsayers, punk is alive and well. It may have a disease rotting away its insides (the infamous "spongerock") but bands like Dropkick Murphys will keep it healthy for a longtime coming.

Standout tracks include the first tune, "Walk Away," a cover of Woody Guthrie's "Gonna Be a Blackout Tonight" and the lively duet, "The Dirty Glass." And you gotta love track 14, the comic yet ultimately poignant "Kiss Me, I'm Shitfaced," with its slow march tempo and bagpipes. 

This CD also comes with a bonus DVD featuring live performances of "Rocky Road to Dublin" and "Boys on the Docks," the music video for "Gonna Be a Blackout Tonight" and a trailer for the band's full-length DVD.

Dropkick Murphys: Al Barr - Lead Vocals; Ken Casey - Lead Vocals, Bass; Matt Kelly - Drums, Bodhran, Vocals; James Lynch - Guitar, Vocals; Marc Orrell - Guitar, Accordion, Vocals; Ryan Foltz - Mandolin, Tin Whistle, Dulcimer; Scruffy Wallace - Bagpipes.

For more information, check out http://www.dropkickmurphys.com

"The Gang's All Here" (Hellcat Records; 1999)dropkickmurphs.jpg (16738 bytes)

Reviewed by Snidermann

 

"The Gang's All Here" is a combination of present day hard punk and World War II history. The combined result is explosive. I got the chance to see Dropkick Murphys when they opened for Motorhead at the Hollywood Place a few months back and they seriously kick my heavy metal ass (see our review). I could not wait to check out a CD from this band. The punk is hard and fast, mixed with incredibly insightful words. This a punk CD for all fans of the genre. The band does a killer heavy metal version of "Amazing Grace," complete with bagpipes. Three words best describe this killer band: "Simply fucking awesome."

Dropkick Murphys: Ken Casey, bass; Al Barr, vocals; Matt Kelly, drums and Rick Barton, guitar.

For more information, check out http://www.dropkickmurphys.com

Rating Guide:

A classic. This record will kick your ass.

Killer. Not a classic but it will rock your world.

So-so. You've heard better.

Pretty bad. Might make a nice coaster.

Self explanatory. Just the sight of the cover makes you wanna hurl.

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Copyright 2010 by R. Scott Bolton. All rights reserved.
Revised: 02 May 2017 21:24:56 -0400.