By Nick Scheidies
The Rocky Mountain Collegian
Intro: Flogging Molly is a seven-piece Irish-American folk-punk band. Like Dropkick Murphys and The Pogues, they’ve built their distinctive sound by merging traditional Irish arrangements and instruments with a contemporary punk aesthetic. Now, they’re releasing their first new album in nearly four years: “Float.”
Pros: Aside from being pleasantly shorter than their previous efforts, “Float” does little to separate itself from the rest of the Flogging Molly canon – but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. With time, these tracks reveal a fist-pumping grit that will have you shouting along with pugnacious lines like, “You won’t make a fool out of me.”
Cons: But Flogging Molly seems all too content to stay in their niche without progressing musically – and their sound’s stagnation is starting to show. “Float” offers up the same old barroom anthems and folk-tinged ballads that Flogging Molly has been peddling since the beginning of their career, only now the tunes are less inspired.
Definitive Track: The title track is also the album’s best. “Float” begins with a lone acoustic guitar, and then builds momentum with mournful accordion, fiddle and an irresistible mandolin. Likewise, the tone starts out glum – with one lyric suggesting that things are so bad that even the singer’s liver would recommend turning to alcohol – only to build to a rollicking, uplifting climax.
Conclusion: “Float” will probably please diehard fans and anyone who has spent the last couple hours in a pub, but if Flogging Molly wants to captivate a wider audience they’re going to have to do more than just tread water.
Verve writer Nick Scheidies can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.