tue 29/09/2020

CD: Dropkick Murphys - Signed and Sealed in Blood | reviews, news & interviews

CD: Dropkick Murphys - Signed and Sealed in Blood

CD: Dropkick Murphys - Signed and Sealed in Blood

A brawling, belter of an eighth record from the American Pogues

Back, and looking for trouble: Boston punks Dropkick Murphys

“The boys are back and they’re looking for trouble.” So goes the opening chorus on Signed and Sealed in Blood, the eighth album from cult Celtic punks Dropkick Murphys. As battle cries go it’s a sight more rousing than the similar one by Thin Lizzy, belted out as it is by a choir of Hell’s Angels against a backdrop of squalling bagpipes.

“The boys are back and they’re looking for trouble.” So goes the opening chorus on Signed and Sealed in Blood, the eighth album from cult Celtic punks Dropkick Murphys. As battle cries go it’s a sight more rousing than the similar one by Thin Lizzy, belted out as it is by a choir of Hell’s Angels against a backdrop of squalling bagpipes.

You’d think it would be a tough call to make the beleaguered instrument so beloved by those kilted walking tourist traps that peddle their wares on the high streets of Edinburgh sound hardcore, but backed with shipyard shouts and Al Barr and Ken Casey’s yelping vocals the Boston seven-piece eagerly strides the trail the Pogues blazed 30 years ago. Dropkick Murphys are a band of fighters more than lovers - it’s no surprise that the most tender song on the album serenades not a partner, but a neighbourhood bar - and Signed and Sealed in Blood is a brawling beast of a record that will happily buy you a pint after punching your lights out.

Stylistically, the band doesn’t try to reinvent the formula that has gained them a legion of passionate fans - and in this case that’s a good thing. These songs, heart-on-sleeve punk shot through with a dash of Irish folk to a one, are the sort to stand the test of time. There’s no high profile guest slot gimmick from the likes of Bruce Springsteen this time - instead, the banjo of Mumford & Sons’ Winston Marshall gives lead single “Rose Tattoo” the sort of wistful opening its glorious tale of a life spelled out in ink deserves.

Elsewhere, punchy two-minute rages like “Burn” and “The Battle Rages On” punctuate the album, while "Prisoner’s Song” and “Jimmy Collins’ Wake” owe even more of a debt to the Pogues. “The Season’s Upon Us”, with its sleigh bells and wry lyrics, could almost be a companion piece to their predecessors’ “Fairytale of New York”; its tale of family disfunction no disguise for its big heart.

Take a listen to "Rose Tattoo" below


It’s no surprise that the most tender song on the album serenades not a partner, but a neighbourhood bar

rating

Editor Rating: 
3
Average: 3 (1 vote)

Explore topics

Share this article

Add comment

newsletter

Get a weekly digest of our critical highlights in your inbox each Thursday!

Simply enter your email address in the box below

View previous newsletters