It’s been four years since Dropkick Murphys graced us with their last album, ’11 Short Stories Of Pain & Glory’. Such a gap wasn’t entirely down to them, though, as once again COVID-19 threw a spanner in their planned release schedule, but, thanks to the speedy vaccine rollout, things are finally looking good enough that the appropriately cautious Celtic punk band feel comfortable enough to get things rolling once again.
The result is the overwhelmingly fun ‘Turn Up That Dial’, and never was there a more fitting name for a record best enjoyed blasted into your ear drums. Dropkick Murphys are best known for two things; a rambunctious attitude and an audacious use of accordion and bagpipe throughout their catalogue. This albums shovels these in spades, deliberately ramping up the positive attitude to combat the trials of the past few years.
The theme of appreciation is established immediately with the titular track, which expresses inordinate amounts of gratitude for the artists and their music which frequently get us through the worst of times. The message: it’s time to turn it up to 11. And what is more appreciative than an entire song dedicated to Dropkick Murphys touring bagpipes player, Lee ‘L-EE-B-O-Y’ Forshner?
There’s more serious messages of love, like waxing lyrical about their love of their homeland of Massachusetts in ‘City By The Sea’, or the heartfelt memorialising of passed loved ones of ‘I Wish You Were Here’. Even in their diatribe against the political mess of the United States, ‘Chosen Few’ still manages to bring it back around to a message of unity and conciliation to push the country forward at a time of crisis. They really have somehow married the hippy peace and love message of flower-punk, the political anger of classic punk, and the activism of modern punk into one polyamorous punktastic sound.
Of course, if you came looking for the tongue-in-cheek pub brawl sound that’s made Dropkick Murphys a live spectacle to behold then never fear, they’re still daft at times. ‘H.B.D.M.F’ is the ideal birthday bash closer, and ‘Mick Jones Nicked My Pudding’ is a Ronseal song, recounting an amusing anecdote that brings new meaning to the saying “Never meet your heroes.”
After an especially feel-bad year, Dropkick Murphys have succeeded in making the ideal album to take us out of this rut and on to greener pastures.