Dropkick Murphys - Signed and Sealed in Blood
Record Label: Born and Bred Records
Release Date: Jan. 8, 2012
"So dance around a fire and kiss an Irish girl."
What does one expect from a Dropkick Murphys album? Punkish flair? Accordions, tin whistles, bagpipes? You'll get all of these on the band's latest, as well as an album stocked with singalongs. Whether its the lead single "The Boys are Back," a hard-charging quasi-punk anthem meant for beer swilling, hip shaking and sports arenas, or the Christmas ode to dysfunctional families, "The Season's Upon Us," there are hooks a plenty from the get-go. Truth be told, what Signed and Sealed in Blood lacks in lyrical content it makes up for with fist-pumping ferocity.
Other highlights of the disc's first half include the Gaelic "Prisoner's Song," an earnest and another rallying cry for late night shenanigans; and the vernal "Rose Tattoo," arguably one of the album's deepest songs and one that marries a winning chorus with a poignant narrative. There's also "Burn," a fiery and head-spinning affair that is as much a last will and testament as it is a surefire crowd pleaser. The summery vibe of "Rose Tattoo," is revisited in the funereal "Jimmy Collins' Wake," a merry eulogy that drives home at what makes the Murphys so enjoyable. Sure they might be simple, but sometimes a vibrant chorus is all we need to get us through our day.
The second half draws its strengths from the piano-riddled "Don't Tear Us Apart," a stormy singalong that is as much a rallying cry as it is a chance for the band to sew together another surefire crowd pleaser. The most punk song on the disc is the spiky "My Hero," and while its arguably the weakest it is rescued by "Out on the Town," a song for Friday nights and fast cars. Bagpipes open the crunchy anthem "Out of Our Heads," a head-bobbing slice of melancholia, before giving way to "End of the Night," a rousing acoustic singalong meant to be sang on barstools along Yawkey Way.
But Signed and Sealed in Blood is more than just a fist-pumping good time. It's actually the band's personal bellwether. "The Season's Upon Us," has charted higher on modern rock radio than any of the band's previous singles. In addition the band was recently featured on NPR's "All Things Considered," a program not often geared towards the punk crowd. And to top it all off, the band was recently asked to sing at Bruce Springsteen's MusiCares tribute concert during Grammy week.
Whether or not any of the above accolades propels the band beyond their cultish following, one thing is for certain, if you ever find yourself in a rut. Give yourself 30 minutes and sit down with Signed and Sealed in Blood. There's a good chance you won't be in a rut any longer.