A few months ago, while reading some pre-release press on this album, I saw “Going Out In Style” referred to as the Dropkick Murphys “fun” album and I must say that I was a little worried by the comment. I’ve been a huge fan of the Dropkicks since I first heard them back in 2000 on a “Give ’em The Boot” compilation, but I can’t honestly say that I’ve loved everything that they have released. There are songs here and there that I just don’t like. So when I heard that this would be their “fun” album I imagined a whole album filled with tracks like “Sunshine Highway” and it scared me.
Thankfully, “Going Out In Style” is nothing like that. Sure it’s mostly fast and upbeat but with all the songs about death and loss, I wouldn’t call it “fun.” If I had to call it something, I would call it their most “Celtic” album yet. Normally on a Dropkicks release you get Irish influenced songs mixed in with street punk, rock and folk numbers but on this disc the Irish is turned up to eleven. Every song on “Going Out Of Style” has a Celtic feel and features bag pipes, tin whistle, mandolin, banjo or some combination of the four. It makes sense, since “Going Out In Style” is a concept record about the life of Cornelius “Connie” Larkin, a fictional Irishman. You can read more about him at dropkickmurphys.com/connie.
Another Thing I read in the early press was that this disc would have a couple of guests stars on it.
Most of these high profile guests show up on the title track “Going Out In Style.” It features Chris Cheney of The Living End, Fat Mike of NOFX, and the lead vocal debut of Lenny Clarke who plays Uncle Teddy on “Rescue Me.” Each of them sing a line or two of the song and are, most likely, singing on the chorus. The song itself is a great sing along (slightly similar to “Flannigan’s Ball”) that will most likely become a standard during Dropkick Murphys legendary live shows.
The other big named guest is The Boss, Bruce Springsteen. He shares vocal duties with Ken Casey on “Peg O’ My Heart,” a tradition tune that has been given the Dropkick treatment. These two, along with “Memorial Day,” a mid tempo gang vocal number about holding on to your dreams and “Broken Hymns,” a slower song about war that features a lot of banjo picking, are my favorites on this disc, but by no means are they the only good ones. This album is great from start to finish, there is not a single song on here that I don’t like.
Any fan of the Dropkick Murphys or Celtic punk in general should enjoy this release. If I had to compare this to the other Dropkick albums, I’d say it’s closest to “The Meanest Of Times” but with the Irish instruments more up front in the mix.
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