Lyrically inspired by seeing a recently deceased’s body when looking round a friend’s funeral home, The Dropkick Murphys’ new album, as with their entire back catalogue, was always going to be unique. The album is a sort of concept album, which sees the band looking back at their grandfathers’ Irish heritage and re-living both the hard and fun times they must have experienced many decades ago on the adventure that saw them immigrating from Ireland to Boston. They create a character to represent an amalgamation of their stories, recently deceased Cornelius Larkin. The album tells the story of his life’s experiences from birth to the grave, while maintaining a party atmosphere throughout!
The Dropkick Murphys’ seventh full album is just as packed with a fantastically original collection of punk rock, sing-along anthems. For those of you not familiar with these Boston-Irish hybrids, the Murphys combine folk, punk, rock and sing along, drunken shanty-style anthems for a completely unique sound that leaves you smiling from ear to ear every time.
The band, aside from the typical punk rock instrumental trio of drums, bass and guitar, consists of bagpipes, flutes, banjos, the bodhran and mondolin, bouzouki (?), the tin whistle, keyboards and many many more!
The bagpipes feature particularly heavily on Going Out In Style, as soon becomes clear from the opening track Hang ‘Em High. This track makes it very clear that this a party album – positivity being something the Murphys have become renowned for since the start of their career. The opener features a powerful bagpipe melody line, with power added by chants of ‘Hang ‘Em High!’ and some chunky overdriven guitars. The chorus is bound to make this a new fan favourite, born to have arena crowds singing along to the infectious ‘we waited together for the cowards to come…’ chorus line.
The second track, ‘Going Out In Style,’ sees much of the same – breakneck drumming with a wild bagpipe line, complete with sing-along working class ethic chorus, bound to have crowds of drunken Murphys-lovers everywhere singing along. Not only this, but this track sees a guest appearance from none other than Fat Mike, of NOFX.
Whilst the energetic theme is much the same for the majority of the album, such as The Hardest Mile, which is practically Going Out In Style, swapping bagpipes for an accordion, the album sees a tinge of a newer, more mature side to the Dropkick Murphys. ‘Cruel’ slows the pace down, and the backing chants quieten slightly as the Murphys soar into a ballad-style, accordion based track, that features some cleaner vocals from Frontman Al Barr.
The album is a great introduction to the Dropkick Murphys, as it sees them as a slightly matured band, who have improved both musically and lyrically, who still haven’t lost their passion for their music and heritage, nor their energetic streak, yet are still capable of producing unique anthems that will no doubt see thousands of people singing along, hand in hand. In fact, the band are on tour right now, and are warming up for their now-famous string of St Patrick’s Day shows. Get ‘Going Out In Style’ now and celebrate your St Patrick’s Day a bit differently this year, with the Dropkick Murphys as the soundtrack to your party!
Check out the album opener, ‘Hang ‘Em High’ live at the Mohegan Sun Arena + an interview with James Lynch and Tim Brennan below: