Dropkick Murphys

Turn Up That Dial

Written by: PP on 02/05/2021 14:09:11

The boys are back! After a couple of lackluster albums, "Turn Up That Dial" displays a mature understanding of what made Dropkick Murphys great in the first place. Combining the more relaxed tempo and pop-sensibility of the previous two albums with the roughened, rowdy atmosphere of "The Meanest Of Times" is exactly what was needed to revitalize their cherished folk punk sound from the rut it was in. There's no way around it: it's their best album since 2011's "Going Out In Style", and here's why.

Already from the album opener, it is clear that we're once again dealing with a more upbeat and rollicking version of Dropkick Murphys. The title track fires off on all cylinders and takes us to proper sailor-style accordion heaven with an infectiously catchy chorus to boot. It's immediately followed by the bagpipe-fueled fist-pump anthem "L-EE B-O-Y", and the all bells-and-whistles out type of a classic folk-punk track on "Middle Finger". And what about "Queen of Suffolk County"? This is the kind of power ballad Dropkick Murphys are so good at writing that leads into thunderous sing-alongs at festivals and club shows to come.

Common to all material on "Turn Up That Dial" is a sense of conviction, a level of confidence, and belief in their own song which just wasn't present on neither "Signed And Sealed In Blood" nor "11 Short Stories Of Pain & Glory". Perhaps the best example is how raunchy both Al Barr and Ken Casey sound like on "Mick Jones Nicked My Pudding" despite the track's contents being exclusively about The Clash member stealing their cake. It's ridiculous, but it's goddamned catchy and rawer than most Dropkick tracks in recent years. Even "HBDMF, a proper sailor anthem that's Dropkick Murphy's equivalent to NOFX's "Happy Birthday You're Not Special", sounds great.

Where the album crowns itself is on "Good As Gold". Fast, high tempo punk aggression with raw vocals and a fantastic dueling vocal dynamic between Barr & Casey, resulting in one of the best Dropkick Murphys tracks in at least a decade. "Smash Shit Up" is likewise up there, going full carnival in accordion, nicely contrasted by Barr's raspy roar, with a huge sing-along anthem chorus that's guaranteed to be a staple of their live shows going forward.

Overall, "Turn Up That Dial" is exceptional. The songs are consistently great and have the spirit, the fun-loving vibe, yet the seriousness and punk-fueled attack vector that has underscored Dropkick Murphys success throughout the years. Most of all, it's jam-packed with sing-along anthems and great songwriting, resulting in one of the best releases in punk rock this year thus far.

Download: Turn Up That Dial, Good As Gold, Middle Finger, Queen Of Suffolk County, Smash Shit Up
For the fans of: Street Dogs, Flatfoot 56, The Real McKenzies, The Rumjacks, Flogging Molly
Listen: Facebook

Release date 30.04.2021
Born & Bred

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