Boston's Dropkick Murphys have been raising hell since the release of their debut album, "Do or Die," in 1998. Their seamless melding of street punk and traditional Irish music took The Pogues' formula to a new level and has inspired a legion of imitators and admirers (see: Flogging Molly, The Tossers, etc.).
With their latest offering, "Blackout," the Dropkicks loyally continue their tradition of punk rock for the common man. Themes range from family duty (the CD's lead track and first single "Walk Away" with lyrics like "So you say you fell in love, and you're gonna get married, raise yourself a family..."); blue-collar work (Worker's Song"); fighting ("This is Your Life") and drinking ("Kiss Me, I'm S**tfaced").
Some might be inclined to believe that the Dropkick's apparent lack of musical or lyrical growth is a negative, or a symptom that the band is merely treading water at this point. As a long time fan of the band, I would disagree. Their steadfast commitment to their Irish heritage, their hometown of Boston, the common man themes, and a catchy street punk sound mixed with bagpipes and tin whistles is what makes them the leader of the growing genre. It is comforting to know one can pick up any Dropkick Murphys album and get the same level of quality.
Having spent much time in Boston, I can tell you listening to the Dropkick Murphys can paint a picture of a city built on many strong Irish traditions. Their pride shows through on "Blackout," and helps to continue to fly the flag they raised in 1998. At a time when many so-called "punk" bands' careerism has never been more apparent, it is good to see The Dropkick Murphys finding success on their own terms- by doing what they do better than anyone else.