I listened through this last night actually, typing my thoughts without videos of intros. The music is incredible, and there are very few songs that fall into 'typical' celtic punk. Almost everything on here is amazing both musically and lyrically.
Check it out on Spotify - lets rock.
"Speed of Darkness" is the first track, and obviously the title track. It starts up with this epic tone that I wouldn't have expected, then launches into the main track, full of all the wonderful Irishness you need for this band, with this slight dark twist that makes it all the better. God, everything is so good with this band when it's dead on - I seem to have forgotten that over the years. They speak to the oddballs while maintaining this rock/folk sound unlike anything you could imagine. I'm listening through headphones right now, and it's just so damn good.
Oh memories of Warped Tour of yester-year. God my punk days were oddly fun. Aside from being tossed around by my hair. "Revolution"has a nice little political comment going on for America, which is a little different now than then. But the music itself is so upbeat and fun, it's hard to imagine there's any complaining on our officials going on. Oddly enough, a call to arms actually still makes for a great sounding song. The horns in here give such cool support to an otherwise still rockin' song. I remember the point of these concerts being the pit dancing, and here we go, it continues.
"The Heart of the Sea" almost seems slowed down, though the beat is still on the upswing. "Don't fornicate with the one you hate" kind of is a laughable line, but truly not awful advice. Whatever the case may be - story or life lessons or a combo - this song moves in a good way, complimenting the vocal intensity throughout. The only off thing is the pipes that seem too soft to support the message, but the song carries nonetheless.
If you were going to label the song of Flogging Molly as more Rock or more Irish, I'd put "Don't Shut 'Em Down" in the Rock column. There's that drum beat hitting throughout the chorus alone that keeps the head banging going. Again, some modern life commentary, but it makes for a song you can get behind subject-wise. You feel empowered to do something, or at least get up and party the hell out of that pit. Ah. I miss concerts so bad.
"The Power's Out" is probably more on the Irish side of things, but I'll stop classifying them as one way or another... maybe. It's such a cool treatment though. The guitar is the main support, in place of where you could probably hear bagpipes instead. As it moves on, more of the band comes on board in support, both instrumentally and a little vocally. Those main beats that hit make for perfect marching and protesting.
And now for the old one in the midst of the bar, with a man playing to a crowd who needs the music almost as much as he does. "So Sail On" is this beautifully light song in tribute to his life in this wonderfully classic Irish method. It's gentle enough to rock you in a way only such a song could, but provoking enough to relate to throughout the course of its melodies. This one's an unexpected gem from a band that is best known for something with far more BPM and harder-hitting sounds.
While that song could have made for a great closer, we do pick up the pace once again for "Saints & Sinners." This is just a classic FM sound, rocking for the dancers in the crowd, commenting on our humanity. Personally, nothing entirely special is happening here, but it does still make for a fitting part of the band's album. However, it bears mentioning that there's some banjo happening, and that's just admirable, always.
"This Present State of Grace" is upbeat, but keeps things in that lighter tone, despite the obvious commentary on the world. There's lots in there - lines on the military, robbers, and even history that we've come from. It's an incredibly well-written song as a whole, as you can get lost in concentration on the lyrics as they move and tell us what's on the man's mind. There's something incredibly unique about this song in the best way possible, as though we can all relate to at least a line lyrically, but to the whole musically.
Whoa, hell piano for "The Cradle of Humankind." Y'all know I'm about halfway to hooked, if not more, just based on that. And probably now the rest of the way there between lyrics and string section now coming in. And... an accordion? I mean, this is just beautiful on the instrumental side. Yes, you're getting more on an opinion of the world we're surrounded by, as well as an introspective on life to come - but what more do you want from a song? I think this one does a helluva job at getting us near to writing perfection. From the light lead in half, to the heavy pick up of intensity to drive it all home, there's really something special here.
"Oliver Boy (All of Our Boys)." Eh? See what they did there? Anywhos. The recording technique on here is really clever - sort of like an old cylinder for the opening, then flashing into the more modern devices. It's like a tribute to old Irish sound and then edging into something we want today. It's a toe-tapper beyond that, but again, typical. If that's what you want, yes, it's another good FM song. But I'm spoiled by beauty in so many other songs now and can't help but want more.
I think maybe my love of the soundtrack for Once has provided a soft spot in my heart for the classic Irish sound amongst some of these track. The duet in "A Prayer for Me in Silence" definitely does give some semblance of those wonderful songs. Here, it's not necessarily a love song, but the voices provide a compliment that's just lovely. The whole song moves so well and everyone is just perfect together. This is a quick number that goes by fast, but should not be missed.
Added To My Playlist:
- "Speed of Darkness"
- "Don't Shut 'Em Down"
- "So Sail On"
- "The Present State of Grace"
- "The Cradle of Humankind"
- "A Prayer for Me In Silence"
- "Rise Up"