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Mollys mix Irish, punk just for fun
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Peter Woodworth

A Step Ahead

        There are people like me – even if we’ve only got a drop of Celtic blood, we can’t help feeling enchanted at the sounds of traditional instruments striking up those lively tunes – but we also like to slam in the pit when punk takes the stage.

        Then there are people like my father, who would rather have brain surgery than listen to either bagpipes or punk rock for more than 30 seconds.

        So it’s no wonder when a group mixes traditional Irish music with cutting-edge punk, it might be a little hard to figure out which side you’re going to be on.

        Fortunately, the answer is simple: If you’re a fan of high energy highly talented music, then you’ll enjoy Flogging Molly. Being a fan of Irish music is a big plus, of course, but it’s far from necessary.

        A little bit Celtic, a little bit punk, a lot of fun, the Mollys have developed from a band that stomped and swaggered through noisy sets of powerful punk to a group that’s not afraid to showcase some of the more introspective elements of the musical styles that influenced it. It’s been a pleasure to watch the band develop since its first album, “Alive Behind the green Door.” The musicians have truly grown into their music and their sound.

        Start with Molly’s first studio album, “Swagger.” For the most part, it’s all about fast, highly danceable tracks such as the foot-stompin’ “Devil’s Dance Floor,” the pirate anthem “Salty Dog” or the self-deprecating crowd-pleaser, “Selfish man.” At this point in their career, the Mollys were still largely concerned with getting people out dancing and slamming in the pit, and the album doesn’t disappoint. There are some slower, more thoughtful tracks such as “Worst Day Since Yesterday,” but the songs are more a preview of what’s coming than a strong element of the album as a whole. If you’re a fan of faster, harder music, this is the molly album to start with.

        The Mollys second album straddles the divide between hard-hitting, punk-influenced sounds and the more Celtic-oriented music the band draws on. “Drunken Lullabies” also evens out the rough edges found on the first album, blending the faster and slower tracks more smoothly so the album flows nicely.

        This is no compromise album, however—the hard tracks still rock and the slower tracks still pull on the emotions. “Drunken Lullabies,” “Rebels of the Sacred Heart” and “What’s left of the Flag” keep the energy level pumping, while “If I Ever Leave This World Alive” and “The Sun Never Shines On Closed Doors” show that the band has some real depth. The album also has an angrier sound than the more rough and rambling “Swagger,” and the lyrical content is more mature. If you appreciate a nice balance between raw punk and traditional Celtic folk, “Drunken Lullabies” is a good bet.

        Last year, the band put out its most recent studio offering, “Within A Mile Of Home.” Far and away its most folk-influenced offering, the album features a song with Lucinda Williams, “Factory Girls.”

        There’s still a lot of punk power throughout this record. “Light of a Failing Star’ and “Screaming At the Wailing Wall,” in particular, qualify as pit pleasers. The album in general, however, has a ballad-oriented sound and shows what Flogging Molly can do with slower, more thoughtful tracks, this album has what you’re looking for.

Peter Woodworth is a freelance writer. Questions can be sent to him at astepahead16@hotmail.com

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