Album review: Dropkick Murphys – Turn Up That Dial

Resurgent Celtic punk legends Dropkick Murphys cheerlead us toward better days on rose-tinted 10th album, Turn Up That Dial.

There can’t be many bands who have given as much back as the Dropkick Murphys. When the music carousel ground to a halt last year, the Irish-rooted Bostonians took to livestreaming – raising some $750,000 for charities and to support their out-of-work crew. It was a huge gesture, but not untypical of these indomitable champions of ordinary folk. 

Their approach to this album is simply one of letting off steam. Don’t expect anything profound or clever – this is Dropkick Murphys doing their damnedest to gee us up, nothing more. This translates as Celtic-styled riffs, reels and jigs amplified tenfold and bolstered by their now trademark gang vocal hooks. The title-track is exactly what you’d imagine a song called Turn Up That Dial to be. Middle Finger and Smash Shit Up also appear to feature music written to match the titles, and irresistible album highlight L‑EE-B-O‑Y salutes bagpipe player Lee Forshner.

The Murphys’ sense of mischievous humour rides high. We can’t behave like nitwits, the world is watching us,’ is their post-Trump urge in Chosen Few, while the rampaging Mick Jones Stole My Pudding is genuinely inspired by an occasion on which the fabled Clash guitarist swiped a dessert from a studio fridge. 

Certainly there are songs that would have benefited from a softer touch, but the band’s motivation isn’t to tickle every one of our varied aural taste buds. It’s simply to get us back on our feet. Turn Up That Dial won’t dethrone 2005’s career-defining The Warrior’s Code, but it’s a welcome hug from a collective who are, as ever, the best of men. 

Verdict: 4/5

For fans of: AC/DC, The Rumjacks, Rancid

Turn Up That Dial is released by Born & Bred on April 30.

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Posted on April 26th 2021, 12:00p.m.
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