Dropkick Murphys - 11 Short Stories of Pain & Glory
11 Short Stories of Pain & Glory
When you go in to a Dropkick Murphys album and expect anything other than a Dropkick Murphys album you are going to be sorely disappointed. There will be Irish punk and that's all there will be, end of story. "The Lonesome Boatman" the first track sets the tone, no real words just "ooohhss" and a haunting flute toiling away in the background. Much like the Emerald Isle itself the Dropkick Murphys always have this sense of sadness to their writing that permeates it all even if the song is upbeat. It is that idea that we better enjoy it now because in a moment it can be gone. Dropkick Murphys have always represented the best of punk rock. While other bands in the same vein can get a little "white-powery" or "Skinhead-ish" Dropkick Murphys have always stood for the opposite, full inclusion. They are celebratory of their heritage, but in a way they want everyone to enjoy and when you listen to their songs, you just get it. The love and the loss, singer Al Barr's brother passed away from an opiate overdose, are palpable on 11 Short Stories of Pain & Glory as well as the frustration that is a staple of punk music. Also there are those absolutely infectious choruses begging you to sing along just as loud as you possibly can. Dropkick Murphys, especially on this album, manage to be the biggest loudest guy in the room who also unexpectedly has the biggest heart.
11 Short Stories of Pain & Glory is really one of those albums that seems to get you more than others, understand your pain yet manage to put it into words you may never have thought of. "First Class Loser" is really the one point where this seems to break down, musically and vocally. Don't get me wrong calling out an asshole is always fun, but this song just doesn't seem to do it right. The album's hopefulness does tend to wear a bit thin towards the final third, which is a problem with a lot of Dropkick Murphys' albums they simply cannot sustain the energy track after track after track. Their highs are very high and the lows are just somewhat of a lull. What is really different about 11 Short Stories of Pain & Glory from the rest of what the Murphys have done is it seems to matter more. The stakes are higher, the ideas are bigger and the band recognize that and rose to the occasion. Dropkick Murphys have always been a Boston band, but on this album it seems like they have finally accepted being Boston's band.
8.0 out of 10