The Gang's All Here
Produced by Rancid's Lars Frederiksen, The Gang's All Here is a solid course in topical punk with tough Irish-American strains. The Dropkick Murphys, from Boston, take up the expected us-against-the-world pose, but back it up with lyrics a cut above the hormonal angst of their late-'90s contemporaries. They use a combination of topical observations and self-examination that gives their stance a bit more validity, especially in "Curse of a Fallen Soul." It's smart and generous punk, but still decidedly tough thanks to Al Barr's gruff vocals and the impressive power of drummer Matt Kelly. Musically they don't veer too much from the only three chords and the loud volume setting you really need for punk. Isolated moments, like the bagpipe/guitar cover of "Amazing Grace" or the faux military march, "The Fighting 69th," show they could be capable of versatility along the lines of the Clash or Rancid.