2 ½ Stars
It is difficult to name too many bands that bleed the identity of their hometown more than Boston Celtic rockers, The Dropkick Murphys. We have all listened to them at one point in time, and in Massachusetts they are a rite of passage. The band that has been going on in some form or another since 1996 won over our hearts with their whisky soaked rockers Shipping Up To Boston and The State of Massachusetts. Unfortunately, their most recent release 11 Short Stories of Pain & Glory lacks the Irish punch that these songs hit with.
The Dropkick Murphys usual instrumentation is evident, from the drunken sing-along choruses to the Gaelic punk guitars. What is not there however is the same flair that was so rich in the band’s previous works such as 2005’s The Warrior’s Code. You will recognise the Murphys from the very first note, but that same energy does not move much until the last. Overall, the album is reminiscent of a dimly lit Irish bar at 3.am filled with the old and faithful all tiredly singing along to the last few songs of the night. The band playing is still charming and catchy, but the energy that was there earlier on has dissipated. They have played all of their bangers already, but due to the love of the crowd they have dug deep into the barrel to attempt to satisfy the few people that are still left in the bar.
Highlights of the album include Blood, which could perfectly finish off a live set. First Class Loser is also a hidden gem with a sound similar to The Dropkick Murphy’s last hit Rose Tattoo. If you are a fan of the Murphys or of bands such as The Pogues or Flogging Molly, you will find more of the same here. However, this album will not do much to convert the non-believers.