(Album Review) DROPKICK MURPHYS - Turn Up That Dial
Released: April 30, 2021 (Born & Bred)
Written by Jeff Tighe
Turn Up That Dial is the 10th album released by Boston natives, Dropkick Murphys, since their 1996 inception. The Dropkicks are less punk than they used to be, hitting more the Celtic notes than the hardcore ones these days. And this 11 song, 39 minute effort keeps that trend going.
The Dropkicks have remembered that their fans want boisterous, fast and fun music, unlike Flogging Molly for example, who have left most of their good jigging songs in the past. The first notes of the opening title track, are kick ass with accordion up front and a fast pace. The bagpipes come into play on the second song, "L-EE-B-O-Y", a standard Murphy pipe song, even if the lyrics are a bit cheesy.
The third song, "Middle Finger" is probably the best on the album, sounding the way The Pogues did in their heyday. Among other highlights are "Mick Jones Nicked My Pudding" , "Good as Gold", "City by the Sea" and "Chosen Few". Founding member Ken Casey sings lead more often than he used to, probably as a result of an accident and resulting inability to play the bass live. Quite frankly, his voice is weaker than Al Barr's and while it is nice to have both men singing, Barr really should carry the load.
The instrumental music on this album is top notch, but one problem is that the vocals don't always seem to match up with the instrumentals. There is a certain awkwardness in the writing that could have and should have been overcome with more attention to the vocal melodies. This problem makes the songs less catchy and less memorable.
There are some good songs on this album, but the band are capable of better as many of their earlier records prove.