The party is back and better than ever
After four years, the cult band Dropkick Murphys return to the scene with their newest album, Turn Up That Dial. To celebrate their newest release, the band hosted a free album, live stream on May 1st. During the live stream, they announced an upcoming world tour in early 2022. Dropkick Murphys continue their legacy as THE Celtic punk band. Their biggest hit, “Shipping up to Boston,” still manages to get strangers in bars to sing along together, and when a party gets quiet, there’s no better cure. With a career like that, the fans and critics expect something exciting and new every album. But the question is, in 25 years of recording, how do you keep up the standards you set yourself?
Turn Up That Dial delivers more party and more lighthearted fun to their listeners. It’s a great distraction from all the negativity that has taken hold of the world the last year. The party sets in from the very start with the title track “Turn Up That Dial.” It is already easy to imagine this song being a new favorite at the jukebox in a bar. There are definitely sound arrangements that remind people of their biggest hit, so it feels a little like a remix/reboot of a classic. Maybe society needs this right now.
“L-EE-B-O-Y” brings the same energy as the first track. It invites people to dance along in their mind and think about the good old days, drinking with pals. The previously released track “Middle Finger” gives people one of those cheerful punk tracks that listeners love so much. This trend continues with “Queen Of Suffolk County.” The great thing about this song is the story it tells. There is something special about a song with a real story and characters. It is beautifully arranged and produced, an absolute treasure on the album.
“Mick Jones Nicked My Pudding” brings back the times of mosh pits and letting lose on concerts. Oh, the nostalgia. “H.B.D.M.F.” is more wind down and relaxed. Yes, the party is still going on, but it turned out to be a birthday party for that attention-seeking college mate you forgot to delete from your friend’s list when the semester ended. “Good As Gold” has this little pick-me-up vibe that is always welcome on a good punk album, especially when talking about Celtic punk. It’s almost a must.
“Smash Shit Up” has this, “hey, take my hand and let’s break some stuff together” attitude that is not new to the Dropkick Murphys, obviously. The song is not surprising or new, but it’s a solid tune in an excellent album. “Chosen Few” shows the band’s critical side towards politics, society and a pandemic that divided both more than it was before. The song features a short cover of the famous “Na Na Hey Hey Kiss Him Goodbye” by Steam. The song was often heard last November after the election results were confirmed, and it was clear (for most) that Trump’s presidency was over. “City By The Sea” channels all this childhood nostalgia that most people have nowadays. The songwriting is on point, and it almost feels like you grew up in a city by the sea, where the air smells like salt. The last song, “I Wish You Were Here,” closes the album on the slower side. The ballad is the perfect way to end the party that is Turn Up That Dial.
The album is 40 minutes of pure Dropkick Murphys. It’s not reinventing the wheel, but it doesn’t need to. Turn Up That Dial feels like a party with old good friends, and it feels so good; you are sad when it ends. With this album, the band managed to bring back feelings that were buried for over a year.