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The Warrior's Code

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Album Review

Boston's Dropkick Murphys turn in another collection of Irish-tinged punk rock on The Warrior's Code. The tempos are breakneck for the most part, and the energy is accentuated by the alternating lead vocals, a tag team of rage and bravado. That the group doesn't take itself too seriously is demonstrated on "Wicked Sensitive Crew," in which the singers discuss how they've been misunderstood as they've toured the world, when in fact they are "touchy feely sensitive guys." As if to demonstrate their sensitivity (sentimentality is more like it), they cover Eric Bogle's "The Green Fields of France (No Man's Land)," a reflection on the loss of a soldier in World War I and the general futility of war that is taken at a ballad tempo and even begins with a piano. They have also been to the Woody Guthrie archive of unpublished lyrics, and come away with "I'm Shipping Up to Boston," a goofy song they set to typically blistering rock. (In 2006, the song was given greater exposure when it was used in Martin Scorsese's Academy Award-winning film The Departed.) The theme of war dead is brought up to date with the closing track, "Last Letter Home," the epistolary true story of a Dropkick Murphys fan who died in Iraq; the band played at his funeral. It is here that the punk rage seems to find a purpose.

Biography

Formed: 1995 in Boston, MA

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '90s, '00s, '10s

The hardcore punk/Celtic folk outfit Dropkick Murphys formed in South Boston in 1995; vocalist Mike McColgan, guitarist Rick Barton, and bassist Ken Casey comprised the original nucleus of the group, with a series of drummers passing through the lineup before the addition of Matt Kelly in 1997. After a series of EPs including Fire & Brimstone, Tattoos & Scally Caps, and Boys on the Docks, the Dropkick Murphys signed to Hellcat Records to issue their 1998 full-length Do or Die, produced by...
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The Warrior's Code, Dropkick Murphys
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