9 November 2013

Dropkick Murphys - Signed & Sealed In Blood

Coming from Quincy, Massachusetts (but due to one song, they will forever be linked with Boston due to the song "I'm Shipping Up To Boston"), American Celtic Punk band the Dropkick Murphys have been entertaining the world for many years.  Since 1996 and with various line up changes these guys have been running around the world giving their brew of punk and causing a party to combust at each town and city they drive into.  I have had the joy of seeing them a few times in my hometown and have always came away with a sense that I have seen one of the finest punk bands out there (one time I came away with sick down my top from someone who had too much fun, but it is all part of the fun of gigs).  But sometimes I have not been bothered when they release a new album, it is a bit like they make the same songs again to have an excuse to tour (see AC/DC's career).  Their last album whilst being good, did not really stick with me if I am honest; so I had sort of ignored this album.  Well, now I cannot ignore it anymore after being asked to review it: let’s see what they warriors of Massachusetts have come up with this time.

Opening with the anthemic "The Boys Are Back" is just business as usual, the boys are indeed back and looking to fight, drink and grab whatever they can. After this is the latest of the shanty songs in the DKM's arsenal with "Prisoner's Song".  It is a nice little number, but it does nothing much if I am honest; however after this is gets a bit more interesting with the joyful ode to a broken heart with "Rose Tattoo".  It is a beautiful song which gives way to one of those moments where you can imagine everyone in the gig joining arms and singing their hearts out (it also contains the lyric which is the name of this album).  It changes the album, and after that is just keeps getting better.

This is started with the fast paced "Burn" which will have the party going, the fires burning and anyone blessed with the gift of life wanting to keep the business end of evening entertainment on the higher levels of going crazy!  Then the pace is changed again with the tale of saying goodbye to a loved one and to baseball with "Jimmy Collins Cup" - now I know nothing about baseball, apart from it involves a similar set up to rounders, men spitting and a lot of passion from my American friends.  Sorry if this is ignorance, but it has never really caught on over here in the Septic Isle on the East Atlantic, but I can imagine this tune going down a storm in America.  But the jewel of the album is the more truthful song about Christmas called "The Season's Upon Us" where you are with your family who are really a little shit, it may not make the Christmas charts, but it is delivered with such passion and humour that it wins me over and is the best moment of the album for me.

After this ode to family life, the fighting boys are back with the manic "The Battle Rages On", I love how this band can be swooning one moment, and then it is back on the fast feet.  It just shows how they are not just a one trick pony, take the next song "Don't Tear Us Apart" which just combines these two elements of what they do the best, but it is just a great song that will become a set favourite, and it could also gain the band some new converts if I am honest.  Then "My Hero" kicks in, with all guns blazing you have a tribute to someone's Dad.  It is just one of those tunes which will have many means for people and it is held with grace and they are also having fun with the music as well.  Never has a farewell tribute sounded more touching whilst sounding like a party at the same time.

As the album approaches its final moments, you have "Out On The Town" which is your average tale about a night that goes off with a bang; but the tune itself is a little bit of filler on this album, and that this is one of the rarest moments on this album, it is a trim album by DKM standards, so the filler is down to an all time low, but there is always one I guess. Then they gain their momentum back with "Out Of Our Heads" which is another party song, but it is delivered with a better spirit and belief.  It is essential the same song, just much more fun (and for this band, that is the main thing at times).  After that the album is closed off with the arm swaying and beautiful "End Of The Night", you know it before you have heard a note, it is the end of the nought and you do not want it to end, so it will not as they keep on going.  It is one that I knew without even knowing, but it is brilliant and a perfect way to bring the album to a close.

What we have here is an amazing piece of work by the DKM; if I am honest the last few albums have been a bit by the numbers.  Yeah they are the type of band who is not going to change the way they make an album, they do not need to as it is working incredible well and as they say - if it ain't broke, why fix it.  But they have given this some more soul on this one, it is just a brilliant piece of work and is their best work since "The Warrior's Code".  Whilst some of this is familiar before you hear it, it is one of those fantastic moments which some the boys are they say in their first song are indeed back....and they are also looking for trouble.  

8 out of ten - Oh, now you have my attention and maybe my money, time and heart

You can purchase from Amazon here

You can visit the Dropkick Murphys website here

You can listen to the album on Spotify here

Here is a video for "The Boys Are Back"

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