What's especially palpable on Signed and Sealed in Blood is how much fun the Dropkick Murphys had in crafting these dozen songs while remaining steadfast in following their reputable game plan. The obvious highlight is "The Season's Upon Us", a holiday-themed number showcasing that not every holiday get-together is filled with tidings and good cheer. Personally, I can relate to Ken Casey's sardonic ode to dysfunctional extended families during Christmas ("With family like this, I would have to confess / I'd be better off lonely, distraught and depressed . . . They call this Christmas where I'm from"): my aunts flipped tables and threw punches over a board game this year (concession statement: wine and whiskey, probably mixed together, was involved). Another undeniable highlight is the album's closing trifecta of "Out on the Town", "Out of Our Heads", and especially closer "End of the Night", whose somber piano masterfully parallels our despondence upon recognizing that last call's come and gone and our evening at the pub must come to a close.
Signed and Sealed in Blood is a pleasant addition to the Dropkick Murphys' discography, but the reliance on their trustworthy, time-tested conservatism is somewhat unfulfilling here. Aside from "Rose Tattoo" and "End of the Night", there are no glaringly obvious stand-outs, although the biting sarcasm and tongue-in-cheek humor of "The Season's Upon Us" is wonderfully accompanied by its charming musical arrangement. There are no real surprises or deviations from the band's calling card, but that similarly shouldn't shock anyone, either. Topics of brotherhood, camaraderie, sports, family, and community continue to dominate the band's lyrics, and the punk/traditional Celtic hybrid sounds as replete and alive as ever. Sometimes, it's best to leave well enough alone, and if it ain't broke, why fix it? (Review from Sputnik)
Latest album from Dropkick Murphies has a couple of standout tracks including Rose tattoo, featuring Banjo from Mumford and sons Winston Marshall Doub;e album in gatefold
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