Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
Genres: Alternative Rock, Folk, World Music, Pop, Rock
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Are They Booked for St. Partick's Day?
Jeff Hodges | Denton, TX United States | 08/03/2009
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Adopting the stereotyped ideal of Irish music, Flogging Molly's obvious agenda is to create singable, happy-sounding tunes with depressing lyrics. "Swagger" has a significant amount of irreverent anger imbedded within each of its thirteen catchy, energetic songs. Flogging Molly is, in a way, singing the blues, but only in the most Irish way - by laughing in the face of one's trials. As the music of a historically oppressed and marginalized community, the connection between the angry punk attitude and the Irish jig seems predestined. In this stylistic overlap, "Swagger's" lyrics form social, but not overtly political, commentary, providing a space for Irish-identified people to work through their current social identity.
However, "Swagger" has an overall "sameishness." Many of the tunes sound a lot alike, and until I cracked open the lyrics, I often mistook one song for another. This is not the case anymore, however, and several of the songs stand out as favorites, in particular "Selfish Man" and "Far Away Boys." In the band's defense, their work is probably not meant to be listened to in terms of musical complexity. While the members of Flogging Molly are obviously accomplished musicians, virtuosity is not the point here as much as expression. As a result, one must forgive the occasional appearance of a questionably tuned pennywhistle clashing with an accordion.
I cold-bought "Swagger" on the suggestion of a friend (thanks, Maureen), and as a result I don't have much in my collection to compare it to. At times it reminds me of Cake, not because Flogging Molly sounds at all like them, but because there is a simplicity and cleverness that both bands share. Or maybe it's the intermittent trumpet. Like Cake, Flogging Molly is also very accessible, and most people who like real musicians that actually play their instruments will most likely take to "Swagger."
I would imagine that Flogging Molly is an excellent live band. Undoubtedly, they exemplify party music for anyone who is, or in any way perceives themselves to be, Irish. This is not music to work through your doldrums on the porch while the storm rolls in (save your Radiohead for that). It is music to be driven to, drank to (not at the same time - let's keep things legal!), played in a bar, and sung aloud in large, beer-swilling crowds. The drunken Flogging Molly fan at a St. Patrick's Day concert is probably a dangerously happy and enthusiastic person.
THE LOWDOWN: If you like one Flogging Molly tune, you'll probably like most of them. "Swagger" is consistently entertaining and, as my first experience with the band aside from the "Weeds" soundtrack, it has a welcome spot in my collection. However, the consistency of "Swagger" can also be a detriment, and it can wear thin upon repeated listens.