Sing Loud, Sing Proud!

Dropkick Murphys

Epitaph Records, 2001

http://www.dropkickmurphys.com

REVIEW BY: Herb Hill

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED: 06/06/2002

I've always had issues with punk rock. It's always seemed to be a little too simplistic to me. And it's not as if I was never exposed to it. Truth be told, I experienced a fair bit of its nascent development while working as a doorman at a pub attached to the University of Toronto in 78 and 79. My most prominent recollection of the various local punk bands that dropped by to regale us with their talent was a group named The Battered Wives. Ya, you can just imagine the love that name inspired in the local politicos. I remember two things most distinctly about the happy visits by this group:

1) It was the only time we had to protect the crowd from projectiles thrown by the band; instead of the other way around.

2) The energy level of this group was full out, all of the time, 100%.

Now that was a long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away and I tend not to dabble in punk music if left to my own devices. However, one of the perks of being a college teacher is that you get to keep tabs on the musical tastes of your students. It is impossible to ignore and frankly I look forward to hearing, and hearing about, almost any kind of music that the "kiddies" want to bring in. It was the "kiddies" BTW, that introduced me to Napster. Man, I miss Napster. But I digress…my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

So it came to pass that one of my more gifted students brought me in a cd by the Dropkick Murphys called Sing Loud Sing Proud. "It's got bagpipes!" she said.

It does indeed have bagpipes; and whistles too. It also has interesting lyrics and that energy level that I remember from the "old days". Flat out, foot to the floor, throat rippin' energy. It was interesting enough that I scrounged some more examples of their work from various sources and spent some time listening to a fair piece of their musical output. I listened to most of it while marking final exams last month… which may explain the less than forgiving attitude that I took with less than exemplary examples of scholastic endeavor that presented themselves during that period. You probably shouldn't operate heavy equipment or make important life affecting decisions while listening to Sing Loud Sing Proud.

Based on a hard driving punk beat mixed (liberally) with Celtic influence, Sing Loud Sing Proud is an easily recognizable descendant of original punk. "Which Side Are You On", a song of strikes, unions, strikebreakers, evil bosses and the poor downtrodden working man pretty much sums up the philosophy that the band espouses.

There are, of course, some disparities within the lyrics. While "The New American Way" rails against 'The morals of this nation's youth have long gone astray lead by tolerance, indifference, and this kinder gentler way that has corrupted and destroyed so many of our boys and girls…", another song, "Fortunes Of War", despairs for the loss of a young man who was murdered simply because he was Punk. Now look. You either want tolerance or you don't. You can't have it both ways. Such is the pitfall of all fundamentalist philosophies.

It's a good CD. Hell, it's a great CD if you are looking to party and have a lot of energy to burn off! If it has any drawbacks at all it is the "sameness" of its musical character. But, I'm a prog fan and therefore expect a variety of musical textures within every stanza and a time change every 30 seconds… so I am biased.

If you enjoy Irish influenced Punk, or think you might, and have the energy to keep up with a frenetic pace, this CD is most definitely for you.

Rating: B-

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© 2002 Herb Hill and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Epitaph Records, and is used for informational purposes only.