Dropkicks ninth effort succeeds in being moving, relevant, biting, witty and most importantly of all, a half hour of damn fun drinking music.
Their output remains honest, unsullied and socially conscious – it’s still got all the bark and bared teeth of a Boston terrier, and the drinking songs are still out in force, but there’s a message of hope at its core that espouses all the values that are held so dear to the contemporary punk scene.
At this point in their careers, the boys are experts at what they do: Pogues-meets-Rancid singalongs for working-class Southie rabble to soundtrack evenings of booze-soaked revelry and camaraderie. They do not disappoint on 11 Short Stories. In fact, this release ends up being the most stylistically varied -- as far as Dropkick goes -- of their catalog.
Loss and the possibility of redemption represent the twin themes of pain and glory fueling the Celtic-punk band’s ninth album, a collection of songs by turns bleak and triumphant—and sometimes both at once.
Whilst this emotional look back might suggest they’ve got one foot in the grave, there’s plenty of fight left yet. In the past, this would have taken the form of furious punk, but this time around the Dropkicks have expanded their sound out into something far grander than anything they’ve attempted before.
11 Short Stories of Pain & Glory is a timely record, filled with anthems of support and community that will resonate with the band’s fanbase, and may attract new listeners looking for messages of hope and recovery—and perhaps tinged with a fight!