Dropkick Murphys have gone from strength to strength in the ten years that they have been formed. One of the best loved punk bands of today, they have released 5 albums and two single collections. The second singles collection volume was a bit harder to create as it was based over a larger time scale (1998-2004). Whilst the other had a tiny range of two years.This collection features "b-sides, covers, comps & other crap" that were selected by the band. Most of their non-album material, from 1998-2004, is included here.
The album kicks off with 21 Guitar Salute, which is one of the many covers featured here. An inspired choice for an opener. Blasting guitars and fast drumming. Finishes with bagpipes and a militaristic drum beat. Fortunate Son follows, another cover, this time of a 1960's rock song, that the band consider it to be a working class anthem. On the Attack, is a hardcore song written by the band. This song sounds pretty heavy for the band and the lyrics are hard to follow. A bit of a weak track. Yet another cover, with You're A Rebel. A fairly mediocre track for this comp, as is Watch Your Back, a cover of one of Cock Sparrer's songs. The next track however boosts the comp's status. Vengeance is a cover a song written by The Nips. The bass really stands out here and sounds amazing. The vocals are pretty good as well featuring a contribution from Rancid's Lars Frederiksen. The guitar and drum playing is also some of the best on this record.
The next section of the album features a few more covers and a welcomed return of the bagpipes, on It's A Long Way To The Top. A cover of an AC/DC song. The lyrics are pretty strong in this section. Alcohol is an anthem for any alcoholic and Warlords is supported by some of the best drumming on the record. Pipebomb On Lansdowne (Dance Remix), is an amusing version of one of their original songs (don't let the title fool you, it is not a dance song). The lyrics have been changed, Ken Casey mentions being refused by women and being asked for ecstacy. There's even a cover of a Stiff Little Finger's song. Not as good as the original Nobody's Heros, but still admirable.
The comp continues with a few more mediocre tracks, that I won't bother mentioning. They sound pretty similar and demonstrate the record's weak point. Except for a cover of Sham 69's Hey Little Rich Boy. It sounds almost identical to the original. Also Never Again, a cover of the Angelic Upstarts song, features Rick Barton's sons on backing vocals and adds a bizare feeling to the outro.
Soundtrack To A Killing Spree, is another hardcore song, the guitar playing is pretty fast and sounds like a standard hardcore riff. Al Barr's voice sounds a little more deeper then usual. Wild Rover follows, a traditional Irish folk song. (The band had already covered it on Sing Loud, Sing Proud) Shane McGowan also provides the odd bit of vocals. Working, is another cover of a Cock Sparrer song. Pretty good guitar work and admirable drumming. Victory is an instrumental that features the bagpipes. On the whole, this song is pretty fruitfull. The band have their instruments on top form and it is a delight to listen to. The ending track is probably on of the best on the record. We Got The Power, was considered to be included on Blackout, unfortunatly it didn't quite make it. This a song about union men being tried and sentanced for organising a strike. Another working class anthem. The guitar and drum playing on the intro is superb and remains amazing through out. A great choice for an ending track.
Singles Collection Volume 2, proves to be a satisfactory comp. The opening and ending tracks are well chosen, many of the covers are a pleasure to listen to and some of the bands original material is pretty great to. The guitar playing falls a bit behind in places but is genarally good. The drumming is great. the bass is a bit silent in places but is still pretty excellent, when heard. However, there are a few mediocre tracks, and the vocals slur a little. I would recommend this to any Dropkick Murphys fan who has a couple of their albums. Don't buy it if your just getting into them. On the whole, it is a pretty enjoyable comp and a good suplement to the albums.
21 Guitar Salute
Pipebomb On Lansdowne (Dance Remix)
Hey Little Rich Boy
We Got The Power