Flogging Molly

Speed Of Darkness

Written by: PP on 09/06/2011 06:44:24

God damnit. The one band you could always count on for mindless fun on the dance floor accompanied by drunken sing-a-longs was Flogging Molly. That is, until they released their lackluster previous album "Float", which many wrote off as but a small hick up on an otherwise glorious celtic/folk punk career that has brought joy and unforgettable moments to many a party and live performance around the world. It turns out the lack of party anthems on that album was just a prelude to "Speed Of Darkness", an album which sees Flogging Molly turn serious. It is what can be classified as a contemporary rock album, a mature record for the adult mainstream audience in mind, which I suppose isn't all that surprising considering the average age of the band members.

At the risk of sounding cliché, the old Flogging Molly material is just way, way better than anything on this album. For where those records used to be celtic/folk punk/rock clearly written with fun danceathons in mind, "Speed Of Darkness" is a rock album - and in some places singer/songwriter album - where the jolly folk tunes come second to heavy lyrical output and drawn out ballads. Sure, they have always sung from the viewpoint of a working class man much like Dropkick Murphys, but somehow the message didn't feel so direct and super-serial when it was surrounded with great accordion-driven tunes where the fiddle, banjo and violins had the ability to pull even the most stubborn rock fan to the dance floor.

Although the title track, "Revolution" and "Don't Shut 'Em Down" feature their renowned carnival-meets-British-pub atmosphere and high-tempo folk punk to a degree, they pale in comparison to songs like "Swagger" or "The Seven Deadly Sins". And you can forget about any "Drunken Lullabies" or "Requiem For A Dying Dream"s on this album. The songs simply aren't fun and catchy enough to entice you to clink arms with a drunken stranger at a club night for a round of celtic dancing, and to me, that has always been the very essence of Flogging Molly, the reason why their offering is so unique and refreshing in comparison to the rest of the genre.

Instead, songs like "So Sail On" rely on quiet, semi-acoustic sound with a slow tempo and subtle accordion melody, "This Present State Of Grace" is a political song driven by an acoustic guitar, and "The Cradle of Humanity" is a soulful piano ballad that recalls singer-songwriters more than it does Street Dogs or Dropkick Murphys. And yet some of that stuff isn't necessarily bad. But the question that needs to be asked is do we really want Flogging Molly writing that kind of songs when there are better bands doing the contemporary rock with experimental folk elements thrown in? After all, only one band can write maddeningly fun, chant-friendly, Guiness fueled drinking anthems which also make you want to dance. In that sense, "Speed Of Darkness" is a distinctly average record, if not an outright failure in light of the Flogging Molly back catalogue.


Download: Speed Of Darkness, Revolution, Don't Shut 'Em Down
For the fans of: The Pogues, The Mahones, The Dubliners
Listen: Myspace

Release date 31.05.2011
Borstal Beat Records

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