Flogging Molly - Drunken Lullabies (Cover Artwork)
Staff Pick

Flogging Molly

Drunken Lullabies (2002)


Last year I was wandering around the Warped Tour merchants between sets, when I noticed a huge commotion on the main stage. Flogging Molly, whom I had not previously seen or heard, had whipped the crowd into an absolute frenzy. The seven-piece, packed on stage with a variety of unconventional instruments, had created a pit as big, and I'll wager bigger, then the crowds I saw for AFI and Rancid…

It's a year later and here on "Drunken Lullabies," Flogging Molly serve up a lush sound indeed (no pun intended). Vocalist Dave King plays acoustic guitar, accompanied by Dennis Casey's electric. Bassist Nathen Maxwell and drummer George Schwindt form a driving rhythmic base. Celtic instruments are treated with just as much importance as the traditional rock three piece. Bob Schmidt plays the mandolin and banjo, Matt Hensley the accordion and Bridget Regan the fiddle, tin whistle and violin. Flogging Molly's songs are centred on the layering of these instruments. Usually a verse is sung before the full band kicks in. This layering of sounds gives the music a sense of urgency; the songs thicken and speed up as they progress. Obvious comparisons can be made to The Pogues, The Dubliners, Stiff Little Fingers or the Dropkick Murphys.

King's lyrics caught me by surprise with their complexity. While the drinking song is obviously a traditional staple of this style, King goes above and beyond the norm. For example, the title track, "Drunken Lullabies," touches on the failed promises of religion and other social issues. From the title of the song, one assumes something much less sophisticated then what was delivered. All the better…

Maybe it's that King is originally from Dubin and was raised on Celtic music, or that the band formed in an Irish pub, or that they never "switched" styles, but Flogging Molly sounds authentic. They are truly a Celtic-punk band, not simply a punk band dabbling with Celtic influences. Stand out tracks here are "What's Left Of The Flag" and "Rebels Of The Sacred Heart" and "The Rare Ould Times"