Flogging Molly’s fifth album, Speed of Darkness dropped earlier this month and hardcore fans who prefer the wilder Jameson and Guinness-type melodies may run smack up against this socially-conscious set of songs.
Irish flavor comes through in the drawn-out fiddle rifts, tin whistles and lyrics salted with personal angst, longing and sharp-edged political jabs.
The stories told throughout the album alternate between the everyday struggles of the Everyman and pointedly dire warnings of the state of the economy. The plain language of “Don’t Shut “Em Down” is radio-ready with a hard drum and an ever-increasing tempo which matches the urgency of the lyrics, but “The Power’s Out” is my favorite as far as a perfect fusion between ominous predictions and pure Celtic accordion-backed power anthem.
“Present State of Grace” is musically lovely and lyrically shocking, with more instruments and voices joining in gradually. A happy sing-along kind of song, until you realize what exactly you are singing. Still, its probably as close to the older FM albums, if that was more your style.
I haven’t seen Flogging Molly in concert, although with their near-constant tour schedule in the last two years, it’s hard to understand how that could have happened. Kilt-attired moshers, oblivious to what is happening outside the concert venue, happily raising their glasses to rollicking drinking songs sound like the best people to party with. But I also like the songs to mean something, something I can sink my spiritual and communal teeth into, so if I get the chance to see these guys in concert, it’s music from this album I think I’d want to hear and finish off the night with cuts from Drunken Lullabies.
Even if somehow you missed them opening for, or headlining a show, Speed of Darkness has the meat and bones to carry you through til you, too, are wearing a kilt and Riverdancing your way through the night.