The Dropkick Murphys – 11 Short Stories of Pain & Glory

Genre – Punk

After four years, The Dropkicks are back with a thunderous shot of faux Irish punk! 11 Short Stories is band’s first album to be recorded outside their beloved Boston, instead opting to travel to Texas to work with former Gaslight Anthem producer Ted Hutt.

Opening with the lonely cries of the tin whistle, the six piece deliver a sea beaten, pirate style opening to the album in typical Irish fashion with The Lonesome Boatman, before bursting into a choir of ‘oh, oh, oh, oh’ as the guitars growl under the whistle, in this atmospheric intro.

With the Celtic theme running strong, the bagpipes make their first appearance in Blood, as Al Barr growls ‘If you want blood we’ll give you some.’ This track has it all – a pounding bass drum, aggressive vocals and shredding riffs that set an unrelenting pace to the album that doesn’t slow down as the tracks roll in.

Throughout their acclaimed career, The Dropkick’s have always managed to gain a balance between angry, Irish drinking songs and pop rock / punk, sing alongs. This can be seen with the instantly recognisable tracks I Pay My Way and Kicked To The Curb. Each song has that brilliant quality where you almost know the words on the first listen, a rare talent that only a handful of musicians down the years have been able to master on a consistent basis.

Sing-alongs are great, but it’s the angry punk tunes that really stand out in the form of First Class Loser and I Had a Hat. Few non Irish bands would have the guile, cheek and bitterness to get away with the lyrics ‘I may have some loser in me, but I’m not a total knob! He’s a first class loser; I wouldn’t miss him if he died!’

As the album draws to a close, the band take a step away from their trademark noise, as the soft sounds of 4-15-13 come to the fore. This beautifully crafted, emotional track pays homage to the victims of 2013’s Boston Marathon Bombing. The grieving aftermath is clear to see in the passion of Barr and Casey’s vocals, as they bare their soul in a way that is so unusual for this pumped up outfit.

11 Short Stories of Pain & Glory is a brilliant return from the Dropkick’s, filled with big choruses, Celtic rage and bitter-ish punk rambles, making for a great start to 2017!

RUSHONROCK RATED – 8/10 Hold your head up high!