Flogging Molly have returned with their fifth studio album, and the first released on their own record label, Thirty Tigers. Is it a worthy addition to their growing discography of live and studio albums? Yes.
Ever since I fell in love with Flogging Molly with their first studio album, Swagger, I have approached each album with trepidation. ”Is this the album where they’ll finally fall apart and I’ll only have good memories to live off of?” Each album has take two to three listens for me to finally make up my mind, but with Speed of Darkness, I was immediately in love.
The band finally starts to stretch its legs a bit creatively adding in new sounds (piano on ”The Cradle of Humankind”) and finally allowing fiddle player Bridget Regan to sing a duet with her husband, band founder Dave King, on ”A Prayer For Me in Silence.”
This isn’t to say that the entire album is a work of art. For the first time ever, there may be a song I skip in future listenings entitled “The Heart of the Sea.” This song sounds like it’s trying to go in too many directions at once, and it can never seem to settle on one. Considering their body of work, and this is the first time I’ve ever gone, “er … no thanks,” that’s a pretty good batting average. It may grow on me with time, but for now I suggest leaving it at the bottom of the sea.
One thing that has always been a recurring theme with this band has been the plight of the working man, and this album ratchets that up even a notch further. It could be because King and Regan now live in Detroit, and in fact, the song “The Power’s Out” is all about the decay that now surrounds them.
There is something that can definitely be said about this album over their previous efforts, and that is that it is possibly their most accessible to the general public. The sound has been softened slightly, but not to a degree that should anger long standing fans, only enough that I could potentially see new people giving them a try, and that is never a bad ting.
Enjoy their first single, “Don’t Shut ‘Em Down”, and make sure to pick up the album if you get a chance.