Dropkick Murphys – Going Out in Style

Born & Bred – Release Date: 3/01/11

This is a concept album of sorts, based around a fictional and recently departed character named Cornelius Larkin. It tells the story of Larkin’s life, (Irish immigrant, working-class hero, war veteran) and thematically speaking, works exceptionally well. The record is really a celebration of living life to its fullest, and that sentiment is further bolstered by producer Ted Hutt, who provides Going Out in Style with a lively, energetic recording. Another point of interest is the band’s expanded use of various instruments, (accordion, banjo, mandolin, harmonica, bagpipes) which adds Celtic flair, but also makes for a more diverse and enjoyable listen. It’s tough to say that this is Dropkick Murphys’ best album overall, but it’s certainly up there with some of their finer work, like Blackout or The Warrior’s Code. “Hang ‘Em High” is up first and it’s a rousing, bagpipe-led romp with a huge, melodic chorus and loads of gang vocals. “The Hardest Mile” features a galloping rhythm and spotlights Tim Brennan’s accordion expertise, while “Memorial Day”, the disc’s catchiest song, offers an uplifting message of perseverance and determination. “Peg O’ My Heart” is a sunny-sounding love song that boasts a guest vocal appearance by none other than Bruce Springsteen. It’s a great song in its own right, but the presence of The Boss really makes it unforgettable. Additional highlights include the title track, which has vocal cameos by Fat Mike of NOFX and Chris Cheney of The Living End, as well as a song about old school punk shows, aptly titled “Sunday Hardcore Matinee”. Going Out in Style is recommended for diehard fans and newcomers alike. It’s also suggested for those who lost touch with the group and are looking to become reacquainted. The bottom line is that this is a phenomenal record by a legendary band. There’s no excuse not to give it a spin.