Sunday, March 06, 2011

CD Review: Going Out In Style

Title: Going Out In Style (Official, iTunes, Amazon, Wikipedia)
Artist: Dropkick Murphys (Official, MySpace, Facebook, Twitter,, Wikipedia)

Going Out In Style is the Dropkick Murphys’ seventh album and sonically matches the tone and grove that the band perfected on The Warrior’s Code and continued with The Meanest of Times. What’s new this time around is that Going Out In Style is a concept record that surrounds the fictional character Cornelius Larkin. According to the Wikipedia article on the album, it “takes the band's own personal experiences and family folklore and roll them into the story” of Larkin.

I’ve been a fan of DKM since the 1997 Fire & Brimstone 7 inch. I’ve watched them lose a lead singer, gain a new one, lose a guitarist, gain two in his place along with a bag piper and a banjo/mandolin player, lose said bag piper and gain a new one, and develop a musical style that has influenced a score of bands to incorporate bag pipes and banjos into their punk rock. With being such a long time fan, it was fun watching this band develop over the years. Each album had a slightly different sound and feel to it. You could hear the growth in the music each time a record was released. This growth was then perfected on 2005’s The Warrior’s Code, which is the band’s best album in my humble opinion. 2007’s The Meanest of Times essentially picked up where The Warrior’s Code left off and now Going Out In Style basically keeps this same thread going. This is a good and a bad thing. It’s good in that DKM knows what they are doing and does it better than any other band out there in the Celtic punk genre. It’s bad because it sounds to me like the growth has stopped. In a way it’s like they have found their formula and their groove and now they are just riding that out. Gone are the straight up punk rock songs of Do or Die and The Gang’s All Here days. Now each song has a tin whistle, mandolin, banjo, or bag pipe in it. Again this isn’t bad, it’s just more of the same. DKM has never really been a band that found their groove right out of the gate and because of that I tend to look for the little bits of growth and development in their music. Now to be fair, my head is in a different place musically and this type of stuff doesn’t excite me like it used to and I’ve only listened to the record a handful of times from start to finish (and one of those times was at work). As I listen to it now while I write this review, Going Out In Style is growing on me.

If you are a fan of DKM then you should get this album. If you’re new to the band, this is a good a place as any to start listening to their music, but I would suggest checking out the albums in the order that they were released so you can get a good feel for the band and their progression. If you are a casual listener to DKM (in other words you really like “I’m Shipping Up to Boston” but don’t really know much, if any, of their other music) then Going Out In Style won’t disappoint. It is a fun Celtic punk romp with songs that dare you to not sing along and grooves that will make you want to dance a jig.

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