Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Flogging Molly- Speed of Darkness

Flogging Molly is possibly the best Irish-punk band out there, to be honest. That's right- they're better than the Dropkick Murphies, and they're better than that weird "kiltpunx" band your boyfriend started when he was strung out in '05. The first time I heard Flogging Molly was in the eighth grade- my math teacher, who was a well dressed suburban college graduate, also happened to be one of the punkest mother fuckers I ever did meet. He harassed us, mocked us, and frankly, could care less about our futures. We loved him. Well, to be specific, the girls and female teachers of the school loved him. He liked punk music and math. What more could I ask for in a fantasy? In fact, many a' years later, my older brother ended up at the same NOFX show as him. He was a cool guy. But anyway, I'll get to the point. His favorite band was Flogging Molly. And being a blinded, hormone-controlled awkward girl in love, I decided it would be my favorite band, too! (PS- My love for my algebra teacher has now faded into a platonic bro-ship since then, I promise. I can't even remember what he looked like.)
None of you really needed to know that, though. Flogging Molly has like seven guys playing Irish instruments and drinking beer and probably ravaging wenches. RIYL The Pogues, Dropkick Murphies, Sharks Come Cruisin.
"Speed of Darkness," the title track, starts off just like every other album you've ever heard by any Irish punk band ever. It's all slow, and you're like "WHAT IS GOING ON" and then BAM- accordion, fiddle and guitar just hit you right in the balls. It's fast, it's exciting and it's awesome. It's a true battle song. Not only does the music captivate you, it really does show some wonderful talent. I can personally state that playing the violin like THAT is ridiculously difficult and I don't even understand accordions beyond the basics. The tempo is ridiculous, the vocals are angry, and you can just tell they're having fun.
However, on the complete other end of the table, there is a song called "A Prayer in Silence For Me," that is a sweet Celtic duet. It's got some beautiful chords and a very mellow vocal melody (oh shit alliteration. And that was assonance. oooooh man). First off, Bridget Regan (who I'm assuming is the other vocalist on this track) has a beautiful voice. And would probably sound great in an indie/pop punk band, but that's just me... Anyway, I love this song. It's a completely different style, and it's cute.
Somewhere in between, there are songs like "The Power's Out." It starts off completely percussion and vocals, and then slowly, measure by measure, other instruments kick in. It's got the piano tempo of "A Prayer.." and yet still the intensity of "Speed of Darkness." It's got a really simple march beat to it, and then quiet melodies added in, and every 30 seconds or so, the song progresses and gets more and more complicated. Love it.
The ending track, "Rise Up" has a truly beautiful intro. It's this sweet soft melody of strings and tin whistle (being a flutist, I totally get off on woodwinds in any kind of punk) and then BAM- Flogging Molly once again does what they're good at. They hit you in the balls with power. Or a mandolin or leg of meat or something. I'm not really sure what they're hitting you with, but it sounds great. Fantastic way to finish out the album.
Other songs in between with honorable mention:
"The Heart of The Sea" is probably one of my favorite slower songs, and "Revolution" is a bad-ass one.

overall, I was so surprised and happy with how Speed of Darkness came out.
I'm sorry to say in the past year or so, I forgot about them a bit. They faded back into my list of punk bands that rock, but just don't seem to make it to the top of my brain. Sort of like every time you eat an 100 Grand Candy Bar and think "BARNACLES, THIS IS DELICIOUS! I'M GOING TO EAT THESE ALL THE TIME." and then you don't eat them until the next time your grandparents clear out their candy jar. The point is, Flogging Molly rocks and so does this album.

Stream the album here! This is their website. Us.


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