Release Date: Jan 6, 2017
Record label: Dropkick Murphys
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Cabaret, Celtic Rock
Boston rockers, Dropkick Murphys, age like fine wine. No matter how much they've deviated from their earlier material, they've always done so with charm, passion and a great sense of storytelling. 11 Short Stories of Pain & Glory reminds me a lot of another band I keep in this same category as 'one who rarely does wrong' -- Jimmy Eat World. They absolutely owned it on Integrity Blues last year and the same could be said for another band in this grouping, The Menzingers, who are perched to steal hearts once more next month.
On Dropkick Murphys' ninth full-length, 11 Short Stories of Pain & Glory, the Boston staples smooth their edges with some restraint, delivering triumphant anthems and some surprisingly heartfelt expressions. At this point in their careers, the boys are experts at what they do: Pogues-meets-Rancid singalongs for working-class Southie rabble to soundtrack evenings of booze-soaked revelry and camaraderie. They do not disappoint on 11 Short Stories.
As heartily evocative of their Bostonian/Celtic roots as they’ve ever been, Dropkick Murphys are back with another helping of no-nonsense Irish street punk on latest album 11 Short Stories of Pain & Glory which makes for a pleasingly valuable addition to their ever-increasing discography. This release marks the band’s ninth studio album and arrives almost two decades after their debut Do Or Die was released in 1998 with original vocalist Mike McColgan. It would be fair to say that the Dropkicks aren’t exactly reinventing the wheel, but frankly, if they keep knocking out smart, capable records like this every couple of years then why on earth would we ever want them to stop doing what they do so well? ‘The Lonesome Boatman’ is as rousing an opener as any we’ve heard from the band before, a fist in the air statement of intent that seems destined to be used by their rabid fans to beckon them to the stage over the coming years.
If any band is well-positioned to write songs influenced by the opioid epidemic eating through New England, it’s the Dropkick Murphys. Not only are the Boston rockers active in the recovery community through their Claddagh Fund charity, singer Al Barr got a particularly personal kick in the teeth when his brother-in-law died of an overdose. Loss and the possibility of redemption represent the twin themes of pain and glory fueling the Celtic-punk band’s ninth album, a collection of songs by turns bleak and triumphant—and sometimes both at once.
Recorded in the admittedly out of place surroundings of El Paso, Texas, 11 Short Stories of Pain and Glory, the ninth album by Celtic-punkers Dropkick Murphys, opens with their signature sound before upping the energy with a fast-paced frenzied set. It follows their 2013 record Signed and Sealed in Blood in its catchiness and ready-to-fight anthems. But, this record also reflects on the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing and doubles down on its defense of the band’s community—even while they recorded it far from their home base and away from the environment they embody.
Like catching up with an old friend. Steadfast champions of the disenfranchised and down on their luck, Dropkick Murphys have been belting out Celtic punk shanties for 20 years. Replete with ramshackle tales of bar brawls (‘I Had A Hat’) and barely scraping by (‘Sandlot’), this ninth album feels warm and familiar – but there’s more beneath the surface.
Time catches up with us all, and the evidence presented on 11 Short Stories Of Pain & Glory suggests that the members of Dropkick Murphys are perhaps starting to not feel quite as invincible as they once did when they started out back in 1996. In a recent interview bassist/songwriter Ken Casey discussed the somewhat detrimental effects and distractions of family life on the band. They’ve seen the results of serious drug addiction on their families, local community and country and lent their support to The Claddagh Fund, an organisation that supports addiction rehabilitation.
A Texas twist on hometown concerns Boston Irish folk punk is convenient media shorthand for the Murphys’ music, but it has tended to paint them into a corner over their 20-year career. Perhaps mindful of the pigeonhole, the band venture away from their own back yard for the first time, recording this new album in El Paso. ADVERTISINGinRead invented by Teads .
Though punk’s boorish offspring, oi!, is still reviled in Britain, it has some champions in America, chief among them Boston’s Dropkick Murphys. The rowdy six-piece band’s ninth album gives oi! a Celtic twist, resulting in a spittle-flecked version of the Pogues had they written football songs in the late 70s. It’s hard to fault their community-minded spirit – they run a trust for people with drink and drug problems – or their affinity with the underclass (Rebels With a Cause).
Few cities can boast hometown heroes as reliably rowdy as the Dropkick Murphys. Two decades in, the Boston-bred rockers have delivered more Guinness-soaked, Celtic-punk anthems than any band their size on this side of the Atlantic, and on their ninth album, “11 Short Stories of Pain & Glory,” they show no signs of mellowing with age. Instead, “11 Short Stories” finds the band serving up pint after pint of a familiar brew — the heady blend of fist-pumping anthems, traditional Irish instrumentation, and scrappy, blue-collar grit that’s made them a household name — while using their distilled strengths to break fresh ground.
A weekly roundup of must-hear music from The Times staff. This week’s picks include a heartbreaking, disco-inspired song from Chicago artist the Black Madonna, as well as Celtic-punk veterans the Dropkick Murphys. Also, catch a bit of Allison Crutchfield’s winning debut.. This is a modal window..