From the first notes played on the Boston Celtic punks’ new album, a tone is set. It’s the tone of a band that have rediscovered the spark that first ignited their passion to play music.
Sure, the Dropkicks have been around a long time and like every band they have their formula, but on reflection their last couple of releases missed the confident swagger they carried in hungrier times.
That swagger returns with the album opener, a love letter to punk rock and the scene it has created, and just what the music and fans mean to the band. This atmosphere carries through on L-EE-B-O-Y and Middle Finger, both pure snot nosed rockers with the flair that you should have come to expect from the Murphy lads.
Queen of Suffolk County is the Dropkick Murphy at their story telling best. As banjos and accordions rattle along in the background, this is the tale of the toughest bird you’ve ever had the pleasure of not meeting. But this is a short passage of serious story telling amongst a group of rowdy drunken stories, the funniest one among them Mick Jones Stole My Pudding about the Clash guitarist pinching a tasty treat from some poor bastard’s fridge, but only because he was high.
Rarely a band to be too obviously political Chosen Few is a weary view on how the rest of the world may well currently view the US. That doesn’t dent proceedings, as the good times continue and culminate in Ken Casey’s love song to the band’s hometown on City By The Sea, about travelling far from home but always being happy to come back.
The album wraps on the sombre notes of I Wish You Were Here. A mournful ballad tucked away at the end of an album that has been nothing but a party up until this point, it is here as a heartfelt tribute to Al Barr’s father, who passed away whilst the album was being written. It’s the lights being turned off in the hall you have just partied in for the last 35 minutes, so get out already.
Turn Up That Dial sits amongst some of the strongest material the Dropkick Murphys have cobbled together. A riotous good time just waiting for you to crack a cold one and turn it up. So why are you still reading this? Get to the party all ready.
1. Turn Up That Dial
3. Middle Finger
4. Queen of Suffolk County
5. Mick Jones Nicked My Pudding
7. Good As Gold
8. Smash Shit Up
9. Chosen Few
10. City By the Sea
11. I Wish You Were Here