Boston’s iconic Celtic punk rock band, the Dropkick Murphys, is getting ready to release its ninth studio album in January, and it could be the band’s rawest reflection of Boston life yet.
Although this is the first album recorded outside the city, “11 Short Stories and Pain & Glory” is as much a reflection – if not more – of the city the boys call home as any other.
In their familiar style of rough-and-tumble storytelling, the Dropkick Murphys tackle the opioid crisis, broken families and pay homage to the victims of the terrorist attack that rocked the city they love to its core on the day of the Boston Marathon in 2013.
The moments of ass-kicking Celtic punk attitude mix with tear-jerking confessions, and fans can of course expect more of the shout-aloud anthems that have become synonymous with The Dropkick Murphys.
"4-15-13" stands out as one of the most emotional pieces in the group's catalog. The track celebrates the victims of the Boston Marathon Bombing, most of whom the band grew to know personally after visits to their hospital rooms in the aftermath.
"Since that day, we felt like not taking the challenge to write a song about what we all went through would be taking the coward's way out," bassist and founder Ken Casey said. "We put more importance on writing that piece of music than anything we've ever done, because if you're going to touch that day, it has to be done right. We went through so many emotions with that whole experience, as did everyone in Boston. It changed the city forever."
Influenced by the band’s work with its charity, The Claddagh Foundation, which works to support addicts in recovery, many of the 11 songs on the album reflect the anger, pain and frustration the band’s six members have felt trying to fight the grip of heroin and opiate addiction around New England and at home in Boston.
The song "Paying My Way" is about the journey addicts take on their way up and out of addiction and offers a message of hope of bigger and better things in life.
In the making of this album, the Dropkick Murphys shipped it out El Paso, Texas. Making “11 Short Stories and Pain & Glory” the band’s only album to be recorded outside of Boston in their more than 20-year history.
"To me, the whole journey starts with the fact we actually agreed to go - and then went - to Texas. Because we've never left home to make a record,” Casey said. "As everyone's lives have become crazier and busier with kids and families, it's gotten harder to buckle down at home. We decided to leave Boston, go down to literally the middle of nowhere and lock ourselves in a room."
For those die-hard fans out there, pre-order the album now on iTunes and get an instant download of “Blood.”
The band is planning a 22-date tour this spring with The Interrupters and Blood or Whiskey to promote the new album.