Review : Flogging Molly - Speed of Darkness
BbcWhen The Pogues first emerged onto the bleak musical landscape with 1984’s thrilling Red Roses for Me, the group could barely have imagined that their clattering marriage of Celtic melodrama and punk energy would give birth to a whole new musical subculture. Not just that, but an increasingly popular subculture as well. Going Out In Style, the latest album from Boston’s Dropkick Murphys (featuring an appearance from none other than Bruce Springsteen), entered the US Billboard Top 200 album chart’s top five, while there is every chance that Speed of Darkness, the fifth studio effort from LA’s Flogging Molly, will debut in the same chart at number one.
It ought to be said that a lot has come out in the wash since the day of The Pogues, to the extent that Celtic-tinged punk – Sham Rock, you might call it – might well stand as the most reactionary and creatively uninventive of all of music’s modern sub-genres. Gone are protest songs about the Birmingham Six and threats to "scare the Camden Palace poofs", while in their place stand homilies about brotherhood and other notions of blue-collar bonhomie. Even so, the lack of a cutting edge doesn’t itself mean that such songs aren’t lacking in charm, and each one of the 12 compositions that makes up Speed of Darkness does feature a tune that the listener can whistle.
Flogging Molly are not without their nuances either, and despite the fact that 49-year-old Dublin-born frontman Dave King once played in heavy metal also-rans Fastway, it doesn’t detract from the sense of authenticity he bestows upon his band’s music. "I spent 27 years in this factory / Then the boss man says you’re not what we need," he spits on the defiant Revolution, while on Don’t Shut ‘Em Down he sings of "life in a modern town" where "the windows [are] smashed open and the doors kicked out". In an emotional more than an intellectual sense, on record this is convincing stuff, the sentiment coming powered on often manically paced flurries and the strongest of melodies. But as with The Pogues, you can bet your last orders that it’s in the live arena that Flogging Molly are at their most convincing....full text
Muzicadown2011 album from celebrated Celtic punk ensemble Flogging Molly. Speed Of Darkness is their fifth, and arguably most important album. In the words of lead singer and songwriter Dave King, “It wasn’t the album we set out to write. It became the album we had to write”. Speed Of Darkness was written in Detroit, MI and takes a hardnosed look at the economic collapse in the US: the causes and the direct effect it has had on everyday people. The Motor City serves as the album’s muse and one of the biggest examples of what has gone wrong. While attacking much of the greed and ignorance responsible for where we are, the album also delivers a message of hope, humanity and the resilience of mankind. Speed of Darkness features Flogging Molly’s own blend of Rock, Folk, Punk, Blues and traditional Irish music with King’s populist poetry...full text
DyingsceneThe first thing that I want to say about this CD is that it is SO MUCH BETTER than I thought it would be. You see, Flogging Molly is one of my all time favorite bands. I first saw them in concert back in 2000 and since then I’ve seen them live nine additional times. I’ve bought all their CD’s and my wife and I listen to them constantly. I own seven different t-shirts (my wife has two) and we even have a framed autographed poster of the band hanging up next to our television. But after listening to the song “Don’t Shut ‘Em Down” my expectations for “Speed Of Darkness” were pretty low. Don’t take that as me saying that the song is bad, it just wasn’t was I was hoping to hear from Flogging Molly. Vocally, it doesn’t really even sound like Dave King and musically it sounds more like something from the early 80′s than it does an Irish punk song. I actually liked the track but I didn’t think I was going to enjoy an entire album of that style of music and since that was the first single released from “Speed Of Darkness” I figured that was the direction Flogging Molly was heading in.
Now that I’ve listened to the CD several times, my worries have been proven unnecessary. “Speed Of Darkness” is an album that went way beyond anything I was hoping for and actually turned out to be the band’s most musically diverse album yet. Lyrically, many of the songs are about the same topic, (the downfall of the American economy) but that in no way hurts the album. It actually helps hold the whole thing together and turns a group of songs that are at times very different musically into a cohesive album.
“Speed Of Darkness” has a little something for every Flogging Molly fan out there so I’m going to go ahead and give you little break down of each song so you can see what I mean.
The first song, “Speed Of Darkness,” is an upbeat number with a sound similar to the songs found on “Drunken Lullabies” and “Swagger”. It features the band rocking out in full Flogging Molly punk style and is the first of several songs about our economical demise.
“Revolution” a song about being laid off and actually sounds like it could have been recorded by the Street Dogs. The traditional Irish instruments are used in the song but they’re not as up front as they usually are. Also, it features a horn solo....full text
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