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"The boys are back, and they're looking for trouble." Those are true words from the first track "The Boys are Back" of Dropkick Murphys newest album released today and Signed and Sealed in Blood couldn't embody this album any better. This Boston-based Irish punk has come out with their eighth studio album, and quite possibly their best yet. I absolutely love this album, and admittedly, they are my favorite band, but from a critic viewpoint, Dropkick Murphys really pull it together with Signed and Sealed in Blood. They really step up lyrically and instrumentally but more importantly, they sound like they had fun making this album and that makes it a whole lot better of a listen.
To introduce the album, they kick off a foot-stomping, rowdy rousing, chant-worthy "The Boys Are Back" and indeed they are. They sound like they step a couple albums back with this song to reflect a younger Dropkick Murphys, but this song is empowering and just gets the listener amped to listen to the album. While the follow up "Prisoner Song" sounds like a more Irish folk turn, they still bring the power. When listening, one can only imagine how great it'd be when heard live.
"Rose Tattoo" is a track to remember. Not only was it the lead single off the album, it's absolutely great. The acoustic, a roughed up Ken Casey reminisces on life in this barroom chant. The song sticks with you. It shows a toned down Dropkick Murphys, with a good ol’ Irish musical breakdown at the end. "Rose Tattoo" is a unique track, and is an immediate favorite. They do almost a 180 in the next track "Burn". "Burn" is a fast paced, rowdy "Going Out In Style" mind-set song. It's a really fun song, and I notice the band stepping up and showcasing some music capabilities here.
These next two tracks are unique in each their own ways. "Jimmy Collins' Wake" is an old folk style song as tribute to Jimmy Collins, the first manager of the Boston Red Sox and managed the team to win the first ever World Series in 1903. The Dropkick Murphys are well-known for their allegiance to the MLB Boston Red Sox and NHL Boston Bruins, and it wouldn’t be a Dropkick Murphys album without reference to either team. Not only that, it really is a good song, a softer track, and cheering to a man that is important to the boys. It's a nice gesture. They then sing "The Seasons Upon Us", a new step for the Dropkick Murphys putting their foot in the Christmas song realm. However this one is one of the more unique Christmas songs referencing to a crazy family that get's together for the holiday and really wind up having a terrible time. It's funny, very original, and my new favorite Christmas song.
The album continues with "The Battle Rages On", just as the album does. This track seems to pick up right where "The Boys Are Back" left off, and it's great. It's a powerful track that also does a well job as an excellent rock, pump-up sort of song. No complaints here. They proceed with "Don't Tear Us Apart", a very heart-felt song, imploring people to unite rather than tear apart. "My Hero" is one of the better tracks lyrically. At first listen, it may sound like another Dropkick Murphys song, but when the lyrics are looked at, it's a very sweet tribute to the singer's personal hero, his father. It's an excellent father-son track with a nice jam to go along with.
The Dropkick Murphys mix it up again with "Out On The Town". Led by Al Barr on vocals, we are taken to an older time with this swing-style rhythm, its funky and very unique. It's a fun story of just a fun night out on the town, with some excellent music accompaniment. This song could only leave a smile on my face while listening. The next track "Out Of Our Heads" picks up from "Out On The Town perfectly. They lift the spirits, get the crowd jumping, and chanting, the Dropkick Murphys are "Out of our heads and its starting to show". It’s suitable for the band, staying active and better than ever year to year since the beginning, as well as their rowdy shenanigan spirit, but this track is an easy favorite to any Dropkick Murphys fan. They get the crowd screaming, break it down and tear it up musically, and then get the people going crazy. It's the spirit that embodies Dropkick Murphys songs that can't be found in any other band this day.
"End Of The Night" is a perfect track to end Signed And Sealed In Blood and really is the accompanying book-end to the album along with "The Boys Are Back". I credit the band in doing this; it turns the album into a real complete album. We don't see this as often nowadays as we should. This track is the last call anthem, a sort of loser’s song of boys at the bar with nowhere to really go. "It's the end of the night, but we ain't going home." The lyrics are great, and it’s a very genuine vintage song. Again, another suitable track for the Dropkick Murphys, as this album may be over, but it really doesn’t look like the Dropkick Murphys are going anywhere anytime soon. The fans are die-hard, and they love making the music that they do, it's just an excellent culture, and that's what draws so many people in.
2013 couldn’t possibly be off to a better start. This album will be spinning throughout the year, and really rally's the spirit as the band tours the many roads that eventually lead to Boston on St Patrick’s Day. The live shows are second to none, and the music is timeless. There's a reason this band is my favorite, and this album really showcases the best of the band. I couldn't praise Signed And Sealed In Blood enough, and I encourage everybody to buy this album and then immediately go see them live, that's the best advice I could give, and you'll thank me later.
Dropkick Murphys - "Rose Tattoo":