The latest offering from LA based irish punk band Flogging Molly, Speed Of Darkness, seems to keep their defiant spirit well and truly alive whilst allowing for the folkier aspects of their music to play a bigger role on the album.
The opening track offers up a rather nice chunk pirate-punk, violins, raw vocals and some intense drumming all serve to maintain the Flogging Molly standard, somehting that runs throughout the album, to the great relief of many fans who feared the band were selling out. Many unfortunately and rather unwisely still beleive that they have, but they’re only successful because they’re fan-bloody-tastic. However, songs such as Oliver Boy (Allf Of Our Boys) are as raw and as aggressive as ever which making them sound really quite sincere. The Heart of the Sea and Don’t Shut ‘Em Down are somewhere inbetween a slightly less energetic type of folk-punk and the classic irish-punk the band became known and loved for, the likes of which made up substantial amounts of the band’s back catalogue. The Power’s Out is almost anthemic with a beat made for clapping along too and a tinwhistle, not too fast and not too slow this one, definitely going to be a treat during the live performances this summer, with lyrics such as “the CEO must go”, who won’t be chanting along?
The ballads, the real “folky” bits on this record are also something to behold. So Sail On is reminiscent of many a Flogging Molly ballad such as Far Away Boys, a heartfelt goodbye and godbless. The Cradle of Mankind seems to be a tale of a lost soul just hoping for the best, and there aren’t many people who won’t identify somewhere with that, especially when the song sort of expands towards the end with backing vocals and strings.
All in all Speed of Darkness doesn’t disappoint. As always it’s onstage that Flogging Molly are really at their best, leaving their fans bruised, battered, slightly deaf and above all, euphoric, well I was anyway. They are to be seen at many a festival over the summer, Europe and the US, and oppurtunity not to be missed. Front man Dave King (the only Irish one among them) may well be 49 but you wouldn’t know it.