Album Review: Dropkick Murphys – Turn Up That Dial

Celtic rock, punk, Irish jigs with a punch… call them what you will, the songs of the Dropkick Murphys are always the kind of thing to bounce along to, and their live show invites this. Four years on from 11 Short Stories of Pin & Glory we’re treated to another 11 boppers.

The title track opens up the album and it’s OK, but far from the strongest song on here. The fact that they can kick things off with a song as good as it is and it only counts as “OK” says a lot about how good the rest of the album is… “L-EE-B-O-Y” is a real stormer, paying tribute to the band’s touring bagpiper Lee Forshner who has been with the band since 2014. It’s followed by a typically punkish and immature “Middle Finger”, perfect for singing along to after a couple of beers.

Latest single “Queen of Suffolk County” is a bit lighter, and one of many story-based songs the band have written. Quite a poppy number, it’s a good choice for a single release as it’s radio friendly and hopefully likely to drag a few non-fans into the club.

Stepping back to the offhand silliness of “Middle Finger”, “Mick Jones Nicked My Pudding” is the kind of daftness that makes their live show so much damn fun. Does anyone else get the feeling this was probably written about something that actually happened? While other bands are railing on about global warming and politics, Dropkick Murphys are more annoyed that Mick Jones has scoffed their apple crumble. Unless it’s some kind of complex allegory… Nah!

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We have a less-than-sincere birthday song (“HBDMF”), an absolute pit-inducing barnstormer (“Good As Gold”) and a cracking jig encouraging the release of much adrenaline (“Smash Shit Up”). Of course we also have the uplifting singalong song (“Chosen Few”, more uplifting for our American brothers and sisters but it’s still cool and the closest to a serious song you’ll find on here), an “I’m missing home” number (“City By The Sea”) and the closer “Wish You Were Here” which will have audiences arm in arm, rocking side to side.

The band have ticked all the stereotype boxes on this album and that’s what we demand. You know what you expect from this bunch of nutters and they absolutely do not disappoint with Turn Up That Dial. The dual vocals of Ken Casey and Al Barr (as well as Matt and James and Tim and Jeff adding to the chorus) really reinforce that these songs are designed to be sung as a group, at a party or (dare I say it) at a gig. As often as they’re singing back and forth, they’re singing as a pair or a group and it really encourages you to open your throat and join them.

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Turn Up That Dial won’t surprise anyone who knows the Dropkick Murphys. They’ve nailed their Celtic colours to the flagpole many times over and that’s no bad thing. Another great album to add to their catalogue.

Turn Up That Dial is out on April 30th

Check out all the bands we review in 2021 on our Spotify and YouTube playlists!

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