By STONE FERRELL
In their first album in close to four years, Flogging Molly delivers their most developed, sophisticated work yet. With a mix of charging percussion, some violin for grace and enough guitar to give it that Irish whiskey kick, Float is a slick piece of punk with some measured polish.
Flogging Molly’s seventh album is not so much a return to form, as it is a refinement of it. While at times it’s reminiscent of some of their previous efforts on albums like Within a Mile of Home and Drunken Lullabies, the production on Float reveals a confidence and assurance in the band, especially in lead singer Dave King.
And if songs like Lightning Storm and Requiem for a Dying Song are any indication, he’s been watching the news closely.
The first track, Requiem for a Dying Song, rings so hard and so loudly with its guitars and accordion that it’s hard to hear what’s behind the music: an opening shot.
That is, until the lyrics kick in: “There’s a government whip cracked across your back/Where the order of the day is don’t listen, attack.” Flogging Molly’s opening number is an anthem for the “Bushwhacked town” of America that it describes, and it sets the tone for the rest of the record.
This sort of commentary is really nothing new for King, and the songs on Float show that years of touring and what must by now be buckets of Guinness haven’t dulled Flogging Molly’s senses, and Lightning Storm raises the stakes further.
The song listens like a race. George Schwindt and his snare drum shout “GO” and Matt Hensley’s accordion and Bridget Regan’s violin are off and running, with King’s vocals chasing after, trying to keep up.
The chorus soars and plummets, and the startling imagery of blood running cold on desert sands and a damning decry of Bush’s stay-the-course mentality combine to make Lightning Storm the slickest, most addictive track on the album.
And it’s not all bad—at the end, this is Flogging Molly’s message to us. While King’s lyrics posses their own degree of fatalism, they’re redeemed quickly by the rushing energy and fun of the music.
Many of the tracks here resound with heartfelt, sincere compassion for those on the down side of things, be it love or politics. With Float, Flogging Molly uses all their tools to create a solid album that’s as much Guinness as at is heart, full of hard-charging anthems for the downtrodden.