Dropkick Murphys – Signed And Sealed In Blood by Kirsty Birkett-Stubbs

Rating: 4/5
Distributor/label: Born And Bred Records
Released: 2013

Band Website: www.dropkickmurphys.com

Album line-up:
Al Barr – Lead vocals
Tim Brennan – Guitars, accordion, whistle, vocals
Ken Casey – Lead vocals, bass guitar
Jeff DaRosa – Banjo, bouzouki, mandolin, harmonica, vocals
Matt Kelly – Drums, vocals
James Lynch – Guitar, vocals
Scruffy Wallace – Bagpipes, tin whistles

Album Tracklisting:
The Boys Are Back
Prisoner’s Song
Rose Tattoo
Jimmy Collins’ Wake
The Season’s Upon Us
The Battle Rages On
Don’t Tear Us Apart
My Hero
Out Of Our Heads
Out On The Town
End Of The Night

Murphys are back, Murphys are back, Murphys are back and they’re bringing the good times. Those aren’t actual lyrics, although I have nicked one of the tunes to string them to, but they do pretty much sum up the feel of Signed And Sealed In Blood.

In the past the Dropkick Murphys have made no secret of having a style and sticking to it – alla AC/DC. Therefore you won’t find any sudden direction changes here – Signed And Sealed In Blood is standard feisty folky punk fare from the Boston seven – and as such it’ll have you up on the tables before it’s even brought you a drink. You hussy you.

Is it a cliché to say it’s the kind of raucous get-together you picture taking place at Dropkick Murphys gigs across the globe? No, wait – that’s a given. The Murphys really know how to bring that big crowd feel to your tiny earbuds.

The album is ordered almost like a set-list with obvious opener ‘The Boys Are Back’ at the start, and finishing with… err night ender – ‘End Of The Night’, which is now destined to close live shows till the end of time. ‘Rose Tattoo’ sticks with you much like the real thing would – an odd mix of reminiscence and jaunt, whilst The Pogues-esque ‘The Season’s Upon Us’ feels a bit late with the festive period done and dusted, but could easily displace ‘Fairytale In New York’ as the drinks-in-the-air Christmas sing-along down your local.

The best of the rest are rollicking ‘Out Of Our Heads’ strays closer to straight-up rock ‘n’ roll than the rest, and Prisoner’s Song, which sounds like the defiant show of solidarity of a whole town relegated to a night in the cells. Once again the Dropkick Murphys have excelled at writing songs that even a man so left-footed that he even has to wear shoes on his hands could dance to, and the most off-their-face can slur along to.

If you don’t like the cut of Dropkick Murphys jig then Signed And Sealed In Blood will only tread on your toes even further. Don’t be surprised if no-one hears your whimpers of pain though… I can already hear the cries on the wind… Murphys are back, Murphys are back, Murphys are back and they’ve never been better.