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Review: Dropkick Murphys - 'Going Out in Style' (Born and Bred Records)

Brian Campbell Brian Campbell
March 2nd, 2011 12:14pm EST

Dropkick Murphys: Going Out in Style - Born and Bred Records: Let’s face it, if the Dropkick Murphys were to ever alter their sound, their fans would be pissed. And honestly, that is a drastic measure the band doesn’t have to resort to anytime soon. So, on their seventh studio record, Going Out in Style, how is the band to keep things fresh and inviting? A concept record. Now, the idea of a punk rock concept album is a bold idea, one the Murphys handle admirably.

Going Out in Style centers on the life and journey of fictional war vet and Irish immigrant Cornelius Larkin, a life and journey the band goes to great lengths to represent not only in the song’s lyrics but also in the liner notes of the album. Hell, the band even includes an obituary for Larkin with the CD (written by author Michael Patrick MacDonald).

The Murphys comes out guns ablaze on Going Out in Style with opening duo “Hang Em’ High” and the title track, which features guest appearances by NOFX’s Fat Mike, the Living End’s Chris Cheney and actor/comedian Lenny Clarke. “Cruel” is the first cut to temper the pace on Going Out in Style, and though it’s not the last of its kind on the record, the band gets right back to the rebel-rousing, beer swilling, fist pumping good times they are known for with the track “Memorial Day.” “Broken Hymns” isn’t unlike “Cruel,” but it’s much more an ambitious work overall, and perhaps the records best all-around vocal contribution from Al Barr and Ken Casey. The most surprising and unexpected aspect of Going Out in Style is the guest appearance of the Boss himself, Bruce Springsteen, on the penultimate tune “Peg O’ My Heart.” “The Irish Rover” (featuring Pat Lynch, father of guitarist James Lynch) closes out Going Out in Style with the Murphys trademark feverous aplomb, a tune that effectively ends things on a high note, and one that will more than likely become the soundtrack to your Saint Patrick’s Day.

Going Out in Style is the best the band has sounded in recent years, a record that surely sets the bar high. For those skeptics thinking the band had hit something of a glass ceiling in terms of sound and style, be warned, there are shattered pieces of that very same supposed ceiling falling down all around you because of Going Out in Style. Hopefully with this style, the band won’t be going anywhere anytime soon.

Grade: B+

Listen to: “Broken Hymns”

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