‘11 Short Stories of Pain & Glory’, is the ninth studio album from the six piece American Celtic punk band. Dropkick Murphys have been around since 1996 hailing from Massachusetts, with strong links to Boston, widely know for its high population of Irish immigrants, and damn proud of it! It is 38 minutes of their usual style, a mashup of American punk and Irish tradition. The use of Celtic instruments such as the tin whistle, Irish bouzouki, bagpipes and the bodhran mixed with punk beats and fast pace really lifts the spirits on the party songs, and soothes the soul on the more melancholy numbers.
Opening with ‘The Lonesome Boatman’, the familiar gang vocals greet you warmly like an old friend before bouncing into catchy ‘Rebels with a Cause’, with Ken Casey and Al Barr sharing the vocal duties with their distinct gravel. ‘Blood’ has a slow chug, with a great riff and use of pipes to really pull you in, it’ll get your body rocking along before you even realise it.
‘First Class Loser’ tells a story in a way that only Dropkick Murphys can, simplistically, tongue in cheek without the juvenile lyrics grating, in a way that other bands can’t quite get away with. Perhaps it’s because such songs are followed with more depth and soul like the much slower ‘Paying My Way’.
‘I Had a Hat’ will have your feet tapping furiously,before wailing into a cover of ‘You’ll Never Walk Alone’, putting you in mind of a Whiskey soaked old mans pub when the footballs showing, with its fast folksy rhythm mixing hazily with a heartfelt ballad.
This is the bands first album recorded since the Boston Marathon bombings, amongst their other charitable work over the years they raised a helluva lot of money for the victims through t-shirt sales. ‘4-15-13’ is a touching tribute to the tragedy, managing to both honour the dead and give a message of hope and unity without ever directly referencing the event. A difficult subject handled gracefully resulting in a great song.
I’m a longtime fan of Dropkick Murphys, and the mix of fun and heart has confirmed that I will remain one. This is an album that will not only stand up to multiple listens, but you might just find yourself playing it on repeat, because I certainly did! Released on 6th January 2017, it’s available now, so do yourself favour and check it out. If you like a bit of Irish in ya, then this is definitely for you.
Overall Track Listing:
1. The Lonesome Boatman
2. Rebels with a Cause
5. First Class Loser
6. Paying My Way
7. I Had a Hat
8. Kicked to the Curb
9. You’ll Never Walk Alone
11. Until the Next Time
Dropkick Murphys - 11 Short Stories of Pain & Glory (Born & Bred)