Review Summary: The second chapter.
When the LA based punk/folk band Flogging Molly released their second effort Drunken Lullabies
, the only question was how on earth they were going to top their nearly flawless debut. Swagger
was overflowing with energy and managed to mix Celtic and folk influences with a raw punk sound. Many bands attempting to mix these genres produce mixed results, but Flogging Molly are proof it can be done. Thankfully the band’s second release is every bit as satisfying as its predecessor, if not a little more.
Their debut contained some real Irish punk gems such as ‘Devils Dance Floor', but kicking off this album is the most impressive song the band has ever assembled. ‘Drunken Lullabies’ is the definition a good time. As expected, the instruments are top notch, but the gang vocals and relentless energy both make the song irresistible. It’s not hard to see why it’s a fan favorite. Other songs showcase the bands ability to craft surprisingly poignant ballads. Vocalist Dave King’s voice has improved a great deal since their debut and ‘If I Ever Leave This World Alive’ is one of his best performances. It’s no surprise the song has been featured in movies and television shows. It’s an emotional little ballad that deserves to be ranked alongside the band’s best work.
Much like Swagger
, this effort is overflowing with impressive instrumentation. All seven members bring something to the table and sound even more competent than before. Accompanying King’s heavy accent are more fiddles and accordions and probably too many instruments too fit in your closet. There also seems to be a bit more experimentation on this record as found in songs like ‘Another Bag of Bricks’ or ‘Swagger’. The first of the two is a mid tempo song that seems to have Egyptian influences. Unfortunately, neither songs are overly impressive which suggests they should stick to what they know best. Thankfully, those tracks are redeemed by ‘The Rare Ould Times’. It is an exceptional remake of the classic song by The Dubliners. It’s yet another song that shows off the improvement in King’s voice and the band’s love for all things Irish. It is also a homage to King’s hometown of Dublin which is where he lived before moving to Los Angeles and forming Flogging Molly.
Although Drunken Lullabies
may not be quite as consistent as their debut, it has some of the best songs in their entire catalogue making it every bit as enjoyable. The album is a statement that the band’s last effort wasn’t a fluke and they really do understand how to craft amazing music using various influences . Due to the variety of instruments, and improvements all across the board, the album is just as important as their first release. Their next offering would find them at their most experimental state, but that’s a different story to be told another day.