Dropkick Murphys – Turn Up That Dial (2021)


Dropkick Murphy’s have the unique distinction of being a “Celtic punk rock” band.  Hugely popular, due mostly to their high energy live shows, but if the shows are the destination, the records are the tickets that get us there.  

On “Turn Up That Dial”, the Massachusetts based bands tenth studio album, Dropkick Murphy’s don’t screw with the formular that made them a success.  Why would they?  

Through the first four songs, the title track, L-EE-B-O-Y, Middle Finger and Queen of Suffolk County the band tell engaging stories, often tongue in cheek, backed by punk rock vibes with their signature Celtic flavours weaved throughout.  

It’s good stuff, maybe not for everyone, but no less enjoyable.  

On the fifth track, Mick Jones Nicked My Pudding, the punk rock vibes are ramped right up, and the Celtic sounds are not present at all.  The chorus is awesome with its gang chants, and the overall track is a standout of the record.  You’ll be chanting along whether you mean to or not.  

H.B.D.M.F (happy birthday mother fucker?) brings back the Celtic theme for a pretty funny look at people becoming self absorbed and seeking attention around their own birthdays.  We all know somebody like that, so it’s relatable.  Quality track.  

If you find yourself a little bored, your really not listening.  There might be a little similarity between songs musically, but lyrically there’s a lot to engage with.  

Good As Gold features a soft opening, but becomes a raucous fast paced, high energy punk rock anthem, while Smash Shit Up is another anthemic number that will surely be a crowd pleaser.  “I wanna be a rebel, I wanna smash shit up”, well don’t we all on occasion!

Chosen Few is yet another uplifting and fun track on the surface – it’s what the band does best, but listen to the lyrics.  It’s a politically driven track, looking at current America.  Very well done. 

City By The Sea is a love letter to the bands home town, and by extension a song lamenting touring to a degree.  Swap their town for your own, and it’s relatable.  It’s a song about living our best lives and not sweating the small stuff, something I’m down for more than ever.  

That brings us to the final song of Turn Up That Dial, a ballad in I Wish You Were Here.  A sad song about loss.  Ending the album on a somber note is not always the best move, but after the energetic nature of the rest of the record, this time it’s the right move.  

39 minutes in length, it’s an easy ride.  So do as the band says, and Turn Up That Dial. 

8/10

Shayne McGowan. 

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