“11 Short Stories of Pain & Glory”
THE GRADE A-
BOTTOM LINE The Dropkicks craftily put their punk rock stamp on recent events.
The Dropkick Murphys have delivered sturdy, shout-along anthems for more than two decades, never really straying too far from a mix of their Irish and punk heritages.
However, on “11 Short Stories of Pain & Glory” (Born & Bred), the band led by Ken Casey and Al Barr finds new inspiration in unexpected places to fuel its most potent album in years.
The poignant cover of “You’ll Never Walk Alone,” from the Rodgers and Hammerstein musical “Carousel,” is transformed into a stomping anthem, punctuated with rock riffs and bagpipes. It’s one of several songs inspired by the opioid epidemic in and around their beloved Boston, including the raucous “Rebels With a Cause” that champions “dead end kids” and their plights.
The uplifting “4/15/2013” pays tribute to the Boston Marathon bombing victims by trying to capture the feeling of unity that took over the city after the terrorist attack, joining in a chorus of “We’re all just people trying to make our way.”
It’s a sentiment The Dropkicks amplify in the hopeful singalong “Until the Next Time,” crystallizing the idea that glory can indeed come from pain.