Dropkick Murphys The Gang's All Here Hellcat/Epitaph Records
Oh, to be Irish and from Boston. The same culture that spawned the Celtics, House of Pain,and Conan O'Brien has now delivered the Dropkick Murphys.
The Gang's All Here, the second full-length album from the Dropkick Murphys, slaps the listener silly from start to finish. Comparisons to Rancid cast aside (the disc was produced by Lars Frederikson), The Gang'sAll Here is the work of a band whose elementary education consisted of the Clash, the Sex Pistols, and theBuzzcocks (and presumably the cafeteria served Guiness).
The disc carries an underlying military theme throughout, likening the situation of the young, working-class punk to that of a soldier. "10 Years of Service" is riveting commentary about corporate greed and downsizing, lamenting the plight of "family men who bear the burden of living up to a standard that doesn't exist in 1999." "The Devil's Brigade" takes place not in the trenches, but on the street corner, as does the title track.
"Going Strong," another standout, celebrates being young and punk, 1999 ("the kids of the nineties are paving the path for the youth of America, free at last"). Punk is most definitely not dead, and if the Dropkick Murphys continue to make records like The Gang's All Here, punk will continue to thrive. -Matt Dacey