Skip to main content

Flogging Molly - Life Is Good album review

Irish folk punk, California-style

Cover art for Flogging Molly - Life Is Good album

Having cracked the American Top Ten with their last album, Speed Of Darkness, self-styled Los Angeles Celtic punks Flogging Molly have taken six years to deliver the follow-up.

Given they’ve spent much of that time touring America and that Irish folk isn’t subject to the vagaries of fashion, the gap has done them no harm, although they might have considered a live album in the interim, if only for a cut of the flourishing bootleg market. Then again, Dublin-born frontman Dave King was able to record this album in his home town, which was probably reward enough.

Punk can be a relative term, especially when applied to California. In comparison to The Pogues, Flogging Molly sound more like The Nolans. In fact, the Saw Doctors are nearer the mark. But all their rousing expat energy, best heard on The Hand Of John L Sullivan, can’t disguise a controlled finesse.

Hugh Fielder has been writing about music for 47 years. Actually 58 if you include the essay he wrote about the Rolling Stones in exchange for taking time off school to see them at the Ipswich Gaumont in 1964. He was news editor of Sounds magazine from 1975 to 1992 and editor of Tower Records Top magazine from 1992 to 2001. Since then he has been freelance. He has interviewed the great, the good and the not so good and written books about some of them. His favourite possession is a piece of columnar basalt he brought back from Iceland.