Review 1: Flogging Molly

Posted on July 25, 2011

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love the combi of the 4 leaf clover and serpents

Method of choosing: Toggled the up-down bar madly with eyes closed, then positioned cursor randomly on screen.

Albums available: Drunken Lullabies, Float, Swagger, Within a Mile of Home

Hypothesis (what I think they will sound and look like based on band name and album name):

This will have NO females in the group. It will be crazy, indigestible hard rock that will cream my ears after the first 3 tracks. At least one of the group members will have had an unspeakable secret actually involving someone named Molly. The lyrics will be vaguely poetic in a pothead sort of way.

Actual music, and further thoughts (pre-Google):

“Riverdance by angry elfs” was the first thought that popped into my head within 5 seconds of the first song on Drunken Lullabies. Not much had changed by the time I hobbled (bruised, battered, really relieved) to the end of the second album Float. Anyway, also within seconds of busting out the music, I realised that I should’ve guessed ‘country’ – because of the ‘Molly’ who’s presumably being flogged, and also because one of their albums is titled Within a Mile of Home, which surely puts one in mind of “Country Roads…” (complete the title).

Couldn’t say I was digging the style, which at least was interestingly country-improvised. So while I listened to man-Heidis with long bristly beards twanging their hilly-billy lyrics, I had a total mindfuck moment. My winamp crapped out on me in the middle of “Rebels of the Sacred Heart”, but I wasn’t sure if that was meant to be the sound… oh yes, it must be…. oh shit, my winamp did crap out. That was embarrassing, sagely nodding along to a stuck word. Reload.

Granted, there were moments of interesting non-countryness, but amidst the huffing puffing bagpipe races (why do they go so fast… and faster and faster…?), by the time “Another Bag of Bricks” came on, I was feeling exactly like one of those had landed on my head. Can I fast forward? Can I skip to the next album? Can I, indeed, skip the next albums?

I was suddenly put in mind of a country-dinner-gala I volunteered at as waitress and “bar tender” when I was 16. I remember it was in aid of horses. No – children riding horses. No – why volunteer for those pompous little shites? – oh, no, it was for disabled children riding horses. Yes, that’s what it was. Well, I didn’t spill anything on anyone, and it must have been quite a success, as I remember the large white marquee that was set up was pretty full, but everything melded into a warm, noisy, expat-coloured blur after I got wasted on the cheap sparkling wine. After that I remember one of the other waitresses – enviably thin, SHIT – getting carried out of the premises while howling/ laughing by some muscled young dude. The rest of us young losers filed out behind them and collapsed by the side of the road for an indeterminable period of time. My parents were pissed, oh boy.

But where was I? Oh here we are at the end of the album. The last song. “The Son Never Shines”? Son? Ok, I hear the words “woman” and “labor”. That must make sense. Sounds like a reasonably catchy campfire tune, quite a blessed cucumber balm on the ears relative to the rest of the album. And now I face a moral dilemma. I can’t bring myself to continue with the next album. Mayhaps another time? But I’m supposed to do this right. Have a chocolate if indecision rears its head.

Ok, I go for it. “It” being Float:

I had hoped for a different sound, or some variation of sound. “Requiem for a Dying Song” was attractively titled, very poetic, but what a Disconnect between music and title. Anyway, it put me in mind of sweaty earnest truckers on a wooden stage. The album got more rock-y as it got to the middle, less angry country. Ok. This was ok. It was enough to make the music fade into a slight headachy background glimmer, sort of like when you peer into the horizon on a really hot day and see hazy floaty things. It wasn’t the sledgehammer of the previous album. In fact, the hoped-for variation did come around. Some songs had a different pace and style, a little more interest factor for me. Still, I had finished all my chocolates by then and could not face the next albums without sugar-fortification. Although I suddenly had the urge to get my mitts on some good Irish Guinness. Hmmm.

from the album Float

from album Float

Post-post-listen reflection (what they really sound and look like):

Umm, so my first ever non-mainstream album-review was not fortuitous. After wiki-ing the band, I learn that they’re a seven (seven! Well that explains the cacophony – um, I mean the robust instrumentation) piece American-Irish punk (punk? Oh shit) band. And this is what wiki says about their musical style:

“Flogging Molly’s music is influenced by artists such as The Pogues, The Dubliners, Horslips, Johnny Cash, and The Clash. The album Within a Mile of Home is dedicated to Joe Strummer and Johnny Cash.

Their music ranges from boisterous celtic punk, like the pirate-themed “Salty Dog”, “Cruel Mistress”, and “Seven Deadly Sins”, or the defiant “What’s Left of the Flag”, “Drunken Lullabies”, and “Rebels of the Sacred Heart” to more somber songs like “Far Away Boys”, “The Son Never Shines (On Closed Doors)”, and “Float.” Lyrics typically touch on subjects such as Ireland and its history, drinking, politics, love, death, and include several references to the Roman Catholic Church. “What’s Left of the Flag” and “The Likes of You Again” were written as tributes to King’s father who died while he was a young boy.”

Great. How wrong could I have been? Country? Oh boy. Sorry, all. Sorry sorry.

“This will have NO females in the group.” Sorry, Bridget Regan plays a fiddle, in fact. (Fiddle!!)

“It will be crazy, indigestible hard rock that will cream my ears after the first 3 tracks.” Not hard rock, but yes to the effects on my ears.

“ At least one of the group members will have had an unspeakable secret actually involving someone named Molly.” The band got its name from the pub Molly Malones…. doesn’t rule out the possibility, though! Ha.

“The lyrics will be vaguely poetic in a pothead sort of way.” Yes, they were poetic, according to wikipedia, but I couldn’t hear them. (wait, is wiki supposed to say such stuff?)

the band does have awesome album art. well done, designer.

So here they are, in the music video for “Drunken Lullabies”. You know what? The vid is awesome. The self-referencing is cute, the skateboarding scenes are a perfect accompaniment to the capering fiddling, and I dig the cheeky, light, happy tone. The mv makes me like the song a lot more. (by the way, is that a fiddle Ms Regan’s playing, or a violin? Are they the same thing?)

Conclusion:

Will I listen to this again, and if so, under what circumstances/ Will put on music player? No…. maybe if I – no. Yeah, no. No on both counts, let me be clear.

‘Nyway. On to the next beat.

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