It's always a bit awkward when your parents or someone older than you attempts to fit in by using some lingo that's used actively today. That is essentially the same feeling you'll get listening to the Dropkick Murphys' new record. 11 Short Stories Of Pain & Glory is a very awkward, borderline cringey record.
Imagine Fall Out Boy. Now imagine Fall Out Boy when Patrick Stump is 50. That same image is exactly what you'll get listening to this album. It's essentially Irish pop punk, but that's perhaps a combination you wish you'd never heard. Listening to tracks like 'Rebels With A Cause,' you get the sense that the band really wants to appeal to a modern audience, but just doesn't know how. The warm guitar riffs is followed in by very thick vocals you'd hear in children's shows. The choruses just sound like a ransack of syllables.
The best sound to describe a majority of this record is "pirate rock." That's not necessarily a compliment, but what can be said of it is that it does come with a charm. The branding does come with a very respectable energy that does give the record a sense of life. Unfortunately, if you're not looking for pretentious, thick, and rebellious group of songs, this won't appeal to you. You can't praise songs like 'First Class Loser.' The dinky vibes do give it a sense of home for the band, but this song is nothing short of a joke. It's an anthem about a loser set to an absolutely stupid instrumental. The chorus nonchalantly chants "He's a first class loser / Which nobody can deny... He's not my type of guy," which, first off, is not only incredibly pretentious but also just rings with a dickish flair. This poor guy just gets smashed for everything (they even go so far as to give the character the trait of parking in handicapped spaces). This song deserves to be an autobiography rather than a slam on this guy.
Let's take a moment to talk about what this album DOES have going for it. There are several tracks that do sound pretty good. This includes the intro track 'The Lonesome Boatman.' Beginning with an epic desert standoff vibe, the instrumental builds into something epic, the guitars ringing coolly with backing vocals elevating them further. The indie rock vibe of 'Paying My Way' also sounds pretty good. The bright piano and emphasis on the warm instrumental rather than the vocals really do wonders for it. The last two songs on the record are also okay, though they could use some better lyrical content.
The Dropkick Murphys may have a niche, but it doesn't do them many favors here. 11 Short Stories Of Pain & Glory tries too hard to sound modern, the rebellious sound really defeating the purpose of the record. I'd rather listen to some good, true-to-heart celtic rock rather than a run-down, run down Irish Fall Out Boy cover band.
Favorite Track: The Lonesome Boatman
Least Favorite Tracks: First Class Loser, I Had A Hat, Blood
Rating: 39 / 100
Buy or listen to 11 Short Stories Of Pain & Glory from Amazon: