The first line yelled out of this stomping new release is simply “The boys are back”…and better than
ever. First album since Going Out In Style back in 2011 and their 11th release altogether, you might
expect some sort of dip in their career, possibly a bit of the same old same old, and in ways this is
right of Signed And Sealed In Blood…but why stray from what works? This album delivers some of
the ballsiest tracks the band has ever written, and no wonder, the most sentimental song on the
whole album is about a bar instead of a lover or a family member.
Opening track The Boys Are Back starts with simple, soothing acoustic guitar chords with electric
feed back in the background before haunting gang vocals and eventually, oddly, bagpipes join the
eclectic mix closely followed by heart-thumping drums and the “oomph” of a single, reverberating
chord from an electric guitar. Al Barr & Kevin Casey’s yelping vocals and shipmate shouting gives the impression that this song, and indeed most of the album, is a collection of sea shanties that have
mated with football chants, creating an almost united front with the band involving every inch of the
listener within their songs, as if a part of the beautiful comeback of the band.
Unlike this, it is short outbursts of utter violence and rage seen in tracks Burn and The Battle
Rages On that demonstrates why this band are at the forefront of their musical genre, they stay
close to their roots. Both demonstrate furiously fast fingers on the fret boards of guitars, the
smashing of sticks on skins and the juxtaposition of panpipes, bagpipes and other miscellaneous,
usually soothing instruments. You can imagine these songs being the soundtrack to a riot or an
underground brawl, whilst also being disturbingly infectious to the ear making each and every nerve
ending in your body jig along.
My personal favourite has to be Prisoner Song, nothing will envisage sailing the seven seas
more than this song, that I can guarantee. Whilst being raw and in your face, it maintains brilliant
intricacy demonstrated by the instruments within, and a slightly more soothing side to Murphy’s,
not as soothing that you could relax to this song, but to the point where you can definitely sense
they have experimented with something new and that is to be heavily admired.
The wry lyrics, playfulness yet aggression and the sheer fun that goes into listening to this album
make it outstanding to me. Its the kind of album you could definitely throw yourself from pillar to
post to live, whilst having a fantastic time with friends, family, and strangers alike. Hopefully releases
like this will carry on for many, many years to come.