Signed And Sealed In Blood

Dropkick Murphys

Born & Bred Records, 2013

http://www.dropkickmurphys.com

REVIEW BY: Tom Haugen

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED: 02/19/2013

There was a time when I thought that to truly appreciate and enjoy Dropkick Murphys, you needed to be at least mildly inebriated. Their anthemic brand of Irish-inspired street punk just seemed tailor made for long nights accompanied with alcohol. Being a non-drinker, I naturally didn't see a place in my life for their music. Then I realized the error of my ways. Turns out any fan of punk or gritty rock 'n' roll would be hard pressed not to find interest in these Boston legends, and now at their eighth album, they've all but become synonymous with Celtic-influenced rock. my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

After their 2011 concept album that left fans divided, Dropkick Murphys returns to their form with plenty of muscle here. Opener “The Boys Are Back” picks up momentum from quaint strumming and chanting before exploding into a frenzied rocker. The album trades off between charged punk rock like “Burn” and Irish-inspired anthems like “Prisoner's Song.” Some surprises include a Pogues-like holiday song as well as the folksy “Jimmy Collins' Wake.” Fans of their more visceral side will be sated with the searing “My Hero” and “The Battle Rages On;” these tracks move at breakneck speed and incorporate bagpipes, flutes, and banjos in a way that only Dropkick can.

Lyrically, all the hallmarks of a Dropkick album are present – family, honor, respect, and celebratory good times. Similarly, the music follows their patented formula, though some classic rock influences early on and a Springsteen-esque tune (“Don't Tear Us Apart”) are welcomed deviations.

Though it's still early in the year, I see this as a contender for one of the best albums of 2013. The band's rowdy fist-pumping buzzing and raw gang vocals have never been better, and some of the best work they've done yet is present here.

Rating: A

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