Dropkick Murphys

Blackout

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On their fourth studio album, Blackout, the Dropkick Murphys work with their soused punk rock style for their tightest material to date. Sure, the intensity that made The Gang's All Here and Sing Loud, Sing Proud so great is intact, but there's a bit more polish and the Dropkick Murphys' Irish-colored rock jigs have never sounded better. Bassist Ken Casey produces this energetic set of working-class anthems. Shared vocal duties between Casey and frontman Al Barr are ferocious yet playful in leading this Boston septet of beer-room brawlers. From the merry singalong of "Kiss Me I'm #!@*faced" to the tomfoolery of "The Outcast," Blackout captures the band's undying spirit. Traditional Irish favorites like "Fields of Athenry" and "Black Velvet Band" are equally rowdy, and "Walk Away" nicely represents the Dropkick Murphys' lasting brotherhood. Rockabilly riffs blaze about on "Gonna Be a Blackout Tonight," a riotous good time put to the words of an unpublished Woody Guthrie song. Such an effort is quite fitting for the band as well, since the Dropkick Murphys are keen to Guthrie's classic working-class ideals. But they have a spark that matches the soul of Shane MacGowan and Billy Bragg, and that's what makes Blackout so impressive. The rawness behind making a living is balanced with a good swig of whiskey, and despite the band's aggressive presentation, this is no motley crew. Blackout is honest in words and heart, so raise your fist.

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