Dropkick Murphys

The Warrior's Code

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Boston's Dropkick Murphys turn in another collection of Irish-tinged punk rock on The Warrior's Code. The tempos are breakneck for the most part, and the energy is accentuated by the alternating lead vocals, a tag team of rage and bravado. That the group doesn't take itself too seriously is demonstrated on "Wicked Sensitive Crew," in which the singers discuss how they've been misunderstood as they've toured the world, when in fact they are "touchy feely sensitive guys." As if to demonstrate their sensitivity (sentimentality is more like it), they cover Eric Bogle's "The Green Fields of France (No Man's Land)," a reflection on the loss of a soldier in World War I and the general futility of war that is taken at a ballad tempo and even begins with a piano. They have also been to the Woody Guthrie archive of unpublished lyrics, and come away with "I'm Shipping Up to Boston," a goofy song they set to typically blistering rock. (In 2006, the song was given greater exposure when it was used in Martin Scorsese's Academy Award-winning film The Departed.) The theme of war dead is brought up to date with the closing track, "Last Letter Home," the epistolary true story of a Dropkick Murphys fan who died in Iraq; the band played at his funeral. It is here that the punk rage seems to find a purpose.

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