September 20, 2007

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Dropkick Murphys, The Meanest of Times
Born and Bred Records, Sept. 18
You’re one Dropkicks album late if you’re looking for “I’m Shipping Up to Boston,” the bagpipe-punk ditty that colored Martin Scorsese’s The Departed so Irish-ly, but you’re in the same neighborhood. Like 2005’s The Warrior’s Code, it’s a scrabbling, writhing pigpile of oafish yelling, name-drops of Beantown’s soul-sucking outskirts (“six long months I spent in Quincy/six long months doing nothing at all”), a lot of spiffily produced hardcore, more oafish oofs and a round of green grog for the house. Meanwhile, atop Mount Crumpet, the band’s bigger/tougher new sound has earned it some haters, guys who honestly believe that punk bands who recorded their first few albums on half-busted two-track machines should forever live for such suffering and shrivel at the thought of warm studios with glass booths and fresh coffee. Haters are so pliable, though, man – give them a little attention and a car ride and soon enough they’re donning Big Papi tee shirts and singing “Tessie” at the top of their little lungs, confessing their lust for Drew Barrymore during the guitar breaks. B+Eric W. Saeger