Dropkick Murphys – Going Out in Style

February 4th, 2011  |  Published in CD Reviews

]Release Date: March 1st, 2011
Reviewed by Joseph Novak

Traditional Irish cover song? Check.

Foot-stomping pub song about the working man? Check.

Lilting ballad about missing home, family and friends? Check.

Fired up sports anthem that makes you want to punch a skinhead in the face? Check.

Straight ahead rock song with guest vocals by Bruce Springsteen? Ch…wait, what?

With all the regular stuff out of the way, the Dropkick Murphys decided to drop a bit of a surprise on us at the end of their new album, Going Out in Style, namely Springsteen guesting on a straight-ahead rock cover of Peg O’ My Heart.

The Murphys cover the 1913 Alfred Bryan and Fred Fisher song is a different sound than we’re used to hearing from the band. Think more 50s rock meets E-Street band instead of the usual Riverdance soundtrack meets Social Distortion. Perhaps that explains the Springsteen vocals. Whatever the case, it works, and it makes for a pleasant end to an otherwise typical, albeit good, Dropkick Murphys album.

The Murphys work through their usual fare, working through 13 tracks of songs you’ll no doubt hear between puck drops at a hockey game (Hang ‘Em High), banjo- and flute-infused ballads (Cruel, Broken Hymns), covers of traditional Irish songs (Peg O’ My Heart, the Irish Rover) and of course straight-ahead punk tunes with some bagpipes thrown in for good measure (Climbing a Chair to Bed, Sunday Hardcore Matinee).

The 13 tracks on Going Out in Style work together to tell the story of Cornelius, a railroad worker killed by anti-Catholic vigilantes near Duffy’s Cut, Pennsylvania in the early 19th century. The story begins with his wake and works  back through his life.

Starting with Hang ‘Em High, a fist-waving anthem about a ship full of Irish presumably intent on avenging their slain brothers, Going Out in Style kicks off in classic Dropkick Murphys style; lots of bass, heavy guitars and bagpipes with a chorus that makes you want to run into the pit with your first raised high, throw your arm around the biggest skinhead you can find and arm-in-arm, shout the words at the top of your lungs.

We waited together for the cowards to come/
Outgunned and outnumbered, but we wouldn’t run/
No mercy, no quarter, they’ll pay for their sins/
Now lower the cannons, the battle begins

The entire album is a rowdy Celtic punk sing-a-long, ranging from songs that make you want to dance a jig (Memorial Day) to ones that can make you cry into your Guinness like the Hardest Mile (which tells the story of the aforementioned Duffy’s Cut killings.)

Going Out in Style is the Dropkick Murphys doing what they do best, expect to hear any one of these songs fitting seamlessly in their well worn live set list.

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