It’s been almost four years since the relentless Dropkick Murphys released a record, and in that time a lot has changed for the Boston giants. Not only has loss become rife in vocalist Ken Casey‘s life, but the Boston bombings hit the band and the community around them hard.
After taking to the studio early last year, the band hit back with the announcement of their ninth studio album 11 Short Stories of Pain & Glory and lead single Blood. Influenced by addiction, the Boston bombings and the band’s charity The Claddagh Fund, 11 Short Stories looks to blend Dropkick Murphys’ thirst for a good time with personal experience.
After the atmospheric and fist-pumping opening of The Lonesome Boatman, Rebels With A Cause kicks into the classic Dropkick‘s mould. The frantic pace of the track makes it one of the strongest on the record: as “Hey kid, you’ve got heart” lays the foundations for an underdog anthem.
If there’s one thing that is noticeable throughout the record, it’s the excellent production by Tedd Hutt (The Gaslight Anthem, Old Crow Medicine Show). The drums in particular sound huge on almost every track, especially Paying My Way and Kicked to the Curb.
11 Short Stories of Pain & Glory proves to be conflicting, whilst simplistic lyrics lead to the occasional cringe worthy moment, there’s something inherently sincere about most of the tracks.
The record also features a cover of You’ll Never Walk Alone, as Casey claims they included it due to the struggle of addiction he’s witnessed in Boston. Whilst the track may provoke most Manchester United fans to hit the skip button, it does the renowned Gerry and the Pacemakers‘ version proud.
Whilst You’ll Never Walk Alone provokes a rousing response, it’s the track that follows that really hits hard. Named after the date which the Boston bombings occurred 4 15 13 proves to be one of the most beautifully haunting tracks on the record, as cries of: “We’re all just people” ring loud and true.
Overall 11 Short Stories of Pain & Glory won’t go down as the best Dropkick Murphys release; however, despite the occasional shoddy lyric and slow point, the record suggests the band still have heart, and are still striving to change the world with their brand of Celtic Punk.
Standout Tracks: Rebels With A Cause, 4 15 13
For Fans Of: Flogging Molly, Street Dogs
Written by: Daniel Rourke