Dropkick Murphys: Signed And Sealed In Blood

Punkier and folksier than ever.

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Recorded as an ‘antidote’ to 2011’s concept album, Going Out In Style, the goal for the Murphys was to create something that was as accessible and in-yer-face as possible – which surely sounds exactly like the course they’ve followed throughout their career.

Still, all becomes clear as opener The Boys Are Back erupts into life like a St Patrick’s Day brawl in an Irish pub the size of Boston’s Fenway Park stadium. We’re talking utterly massive gang choruses allied to shamelessly singalong hooks.

Always sharp songwriters, the likes of Rose Tattoo and triumphant closer End Of The Night are particularly fine, though it all comes a bit unstuck with the clunky, ironic Christmas tune The Season’s Upon Us – its strenuously ‘hilarious’ lyrics sound forced and jingling sleigh bells should never feature on any punk album. Ever. This knuckle-biting howler aside, SASIB raises the roof with good vibes and memorable songs.

Essi Berelian

Whether it’s magazines, books or online, Essi has been writing about rock ’n’ metal for around thirty years. He has been reviews editor for Classic Rock and Metal Hammer, rock reviews editor for lads mag Front and worked for Kerrang!. He has also written the Rough Guide to Heavy Metal and contributed to the Rough Guide to Rock and Rough Guide Book of Playlists, and the Guinness Book of British Hit Singles (13th edition). Most fun interview? Tenacious D – Jack Black and Kyle Gass – for The Pick of Destiny movie book. An avid record/CD/tape collector, he’s amassed more music than he could ever possibly listen to, which annoys his wife no end.