Going Out In Style
By Shawn DonohueMarch 25, 2011
The tom drum thumps and snares roll before the gang vocals of “Hang’Em High” ring together and that familiar Dropkick Murphy’s sound is recognized on their latest, Going Out In Style. While the tunes contain the Boston group’s trademark punch, growl, and reels there is a cool twist on these proceedings in the form of a concept album for a fictional character. Cornelius “Connie” Larkin (Korean War Vet, Longshoreman Union Man) plays the lead and gives the group a loose thread to focus their narratives around as a memorial service to their made up and deceased hero. If there is one thing the Irish culture has always done proper it is the celebration of life at the time of ones death, and Dropkick presents that swimmingly here.
“Cruel” focuses on the beauty and hardships of dealing with ones crazy family while “Memorial Day” is the closest to mainstream rock, working as an uplifting call to dust yourself off after life gets you down. The looking back title track is the rambunctious Irish Wake on the album just as the downward gazing “Climbing A Chair To Bed” is the Irish Goodbye. The funky breakdowns and strums of the popping quick “Peg’O My Heart” is a combo of it all and swings with charm. The band always sounds more vital when they are inflicting their hardcore edge into ethnic songs (“Sunday Hardcore Matinee”) rather then when they are going for out and out folk tunes (“Broken Hymns”) but nothing becomes to pining or weepy here.
Bagpipes, the immigrants tale and pennywhistles color all the tracks green and bring smiles to the faces even while describing grim terms of existence, or a perhaps a more proper phrase; Dropkick’s are full of blarney.
The Celtic storytelling and all-for-one union drive is flowing like a pint of the dark throughout Going Out In Style. The album unfolds like a screenplay and when it wraps up with the groups cover of the classic “Irish Rover” you realize Dropkick Murphy’s have crafted one of their fullest and most fulfilling albums of their career.