“If you take away the guitars and drums, this would be a nice, little Irish folk band. Take away the fiddle, mandolin and accordion, and Flogging Molly would be one hardcore punk band.” For anyone who has heard any of the previous Flogging Molly albums, this quote by lead vocalist Dave King sums up the band’s unique sound. On their latest album, “Within a Mile of Home,” the band’s Irish roots take center stage, contributing more to the album than in any of their previous albums. The result – perhaps the best Flogging Molly album yet. The lyrics of the opening song, “Screaming at the Wailing Wall,” have political undertones that won’t surprise Flogging Molly fans. After all, the band’s song “Drunken Lullabies” was featured on the second volume of the “Rock Against Bush” albums. For those unfamiliar with Flogging Molly’s previous work, the lyrics simply speak for themselves – “But the song of beasts / growl with oil soaked teeth / their dollar is mighty and true / Now the eagle soars the sky / over refugee and child / and to all there is no end / another day in perfect hell.” The imagery continues when the lyrics ask a key question – “So how come the gatherin’ storm / pours so little on the truth?” Regardless of anyone’s political ideologies, it’s a poignant question that is applicable to a myriad current events. “To Youth (My Sweet Roisin Dubh)” continues this tradition of rich lyrics. As the title suggests, the song is addressed to the youth of today, asking many different questions – “Tell me why must our peace be this puzzle / that fractures the land splinters war.” Until such questions are answered, the speaker bids goodbye to Roisin Dubh, confident she will one day “rise to beautify.” “To Youth” is a challenge to all young people to reflect on many of the major issues of today – war, death, famine and religion. One of my favorite tracks, “The Spoken Wheel,” blends a simple and haunting melody with beautiful lyrics. This track alone would lead one to believe the group was a traditional Irish band. With the absence of percussion and electric guitars, the more traditional tones of Irish music are present to an extent not heard on the previous Flogging Molly albums. But fear not, punk-loving Flogging Molly fans – the album still features several tracks with the band’s signature sound. The title track, “Within a Mile of Home,” blends a distinctive mixture of electric guitar, percussion and accordion for the sound that fans have come to expect. The song evokes images of a home long left behind and reminisces on “a song from yesterday / when laughter filled the tears that we now make” and “memories fade like the casualty a forgotten fool.”Between “To Youth (My Sweet Roisin Dubh),” “Screaming at the Wailing Wall” and “The Spoken Wheel,” listeners of “Within a Mile of Home” will not be disappointed. Flogging Molly has once again masterfully blended punk and traditional Celtic music to create their best album yet.Stickel can be reached attstickel@campustimes.org.



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