Review Summary: It's time to get lairy... again.
At this stage in Dropkick Murphy's career, it's plainly obvious they've found their niche in the music world; the kind of signature trope and safe spot many bands nestle themselves in after being around the block a few times. It’s also something older bands tend to drag out for the duration of the years they have left making music. So it makes as another obvious point that if you're someone that has tried time and time again to get into a bands discography but can't, you aren't going to be convinced at this late a stage either. However, there comes a point where even the biggest fan can see cracks creeping in --things can gradually get stagnant with time; it all becomes a little cliché and tiresome to hear when you’ve been hearing the same thing LP after LP. Just look at NOFX, who have slowly burnt out over the course of the last decade, writing rather banal tunes, with little to read into lyrically. Of course, this same band managed to pull out their best album for a good while just last year, so it proves you can get out of the slums if you focus hard enough.
So where am I going with this" Well, 11 Short Stories of Pain & Glory
walks a very tight rope of being both entertaining and wishy-washy swill. Lets talk about what this album does right first. 11 Short Stories of Pain & Glory
’s biggest blessing is that it doesn’t feel like its 38 minute run time, it all goes past at a pretty rapid rate, and things rarely jump outside of the fun zone. Furthermore the record does a fine job of once again carrying over the Irish, pissed up jiving vibe they’ve always slapped on their albums: for the most part, the album is brimming with energy and focuses on laying out an authentic collection of piss-up anthems for you to blast out at your locals grotty jukebox. The problem is that past the positives of 11 Short Stories of Pain & Glory
, the record has trouble avoiding being a little hackneyed. The band has quite literally exhausted its resources; beating on a dead horse as they say. It’s not that the record is bad, it’s just constantly struggling to bring out fresh ideas -- not just for newcomers, but for their fan base as well. It’s hard to really describe the instrumental or vocal work here, because it’s just more of the same. Rinse, repeat.
Maybe you could argue that’s exactly what both fans and the band want, and if that’s the case, good for them. But when you look at a band that’s been going for this long, it’s rather puzzling they’ve not tried to push themselves into a different kind of league. If they persist in releasing more of this, there’s the possibility even the truest of fans could become a little tired of what they’re doing. As said, 11 Short Stories of Pain & Glory
does little wrong, but nor does it get a lot right either. Nothing jumps out as exceptional, only acceptable, while the bulk of the album runs at this level it does occasionally hit a rut with tracks like “Until the Next Time”, “4-13-15” and “First Class Loser” that suffer from some truly hammy and corny lyrics, as well as an all round cheesy aesthetic that comes out a little dated and out of touch with the rest of the world. Bar that, the rest of the album is fairly solid and should please Dropkick Murphy fans, but I just feel the fire from the bellies of the same people that made The Warriors Code
is long gone, and how long they can stretch out this tired formula remains to be seen.
EDITIONS: C̶D̶, MP3, V̶I̶N̶Y̶L̶
SPECIAL EDITION: N/A