|Dropkick Murphys - ‘Signed And Sealed In Blood’ (Born And Bred Records)|
|Written by Dom Daley|
|Monday, 07 January 2013 03:00|
Album number eight for the Oi!rish punkers from the East Coast and one thing for sure is they look like a gang and sound like a gang that are hell bent on having a right old rowdy knees up regardless of the current climate. Fuelled on blunts and the black stuff they’re having a party so bring your ears over here and let’s get this jig on.
'The Boys Are Back' begins with a familiar Murphys style stomp complete with gang vocals as the circle pit begins in yer head as the boys get their game on. As far as openers go this might well be predictable stuff but it's got a tonne of energy and bagpipes apart it isn't half bad. 'Prisoners Song' is a wheeze on the old squeezebox as we set sail on some right piratey banjo picking as the Dropkicks unload all their guns at once. It’s not my cup of tea but it is infectious and sounds like the best of times no doubt about it.
'Rose Tattoo' is up next and it’s a singalong longing for the homeland sort of tune complete with whistle - it's a kind of soft song for pirates, but it makes way for the rapid burst of 'Burn' which is much more like it. This song speeds off like a steam train and God knows how many musicians are involved but it sounds tight as fuck as it flies towards its Pogues-esque finale.
With a much less punk rock approach on this album the band lean heavily on the traditional instruments of folk with the acoustics once again being plugged in for 'The Seasons Upon Us' as we hear all about the Family and some most un-seasonal lyrics get knocked about a bit, but its a change for the usual seasonal tosh we get to hear that’s for sure.
'The Battle Rages On' is a polar opposite as we get the straight down the line punk rock I'd certainly known the Dropkick Murphys for, with gang vocals a plenty. 'Don't Tear Us Apart' begins with a piano and ploughs a pretty decent pop furrow (if I might be so bold) and I guess I wasn't expecting this because it’s a pretty decent effort too, pretty much outside the Oi!rish box yet totally fitting in, if you know what I mean?
'My Hero' turns up the fuzz and wheels in the “Oi Oi!” of old. However whilst the song structures have definitely been broadened on this record it's still just about within the parameters you'd expect for the Murphys, which is a good thing because I'm not sure I could handle a whole album of jiggin pirateyness from the bodhran beatin', whistle tootin', bagpipe blowin' gents from Boston,, but the mixture of songs definitely makes for a much more interesting album. 'Out On The Town' being the best example as the band get down to some serious rockin' with a great tune and I hardly noticed the bagpipes for once.
All in all ‘Signed And Sealed In Blood’ wasn't the album I was expecting, and with a good variety on a theme it has packed an awful lot into its twelve songs. It'll please old fans and no doubt will reel in some new ones. One thing for sure is you get the feeling that the band are having a ball and pour every drop of blood into their music, and like it or not they deserve respect for that, and for sticking to what makes them happy. You know I bet with a skin full and a packed house these songs would really come alive. This could be a right grower.
Now away with ya! Yer rascals.