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Non-Prog CD Reviews

Flogging Molly

Float

Review by Gary Hill

The motif of Irish based hard rock always works pretty well. It can have a tendency towards sameyness, though. Flogging Molly manage to avoid that with this CD, turning out a collection of tracks that all manage to hold their own in terms of unique identity. It's one of the better releases in the genre. Flogging Molly is one of the more successful acts in this musical style and they come by that status through their merits. The music is all finely crafted and delivered well. This is sure to please longtime fans, but would also be a great first helping of Flogging Molly music for the uninitiated.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2008  Volume 2 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
Requiem For A Dying Song
This powerhouse is an energetic rocker that's full of Irish musical motifs. It's a great way to start the disc off on a high note.
(No More) Paddy's Lament
This one comes in with an almost heavy metal feel to it. I'm talking in terms of the progression not the delivery. They work through this intro before turning it into more pure Celtic territory with a frantically fast and energized jam that's a lot of fun. It seemed from the opener that they had nowhere to go but down. Well, they prove that theory wrong by delivering an even more potent slab of Celtic rock here.
Float
They build this one on an acoustic based balladic motif. It's an emotionallly powerful piece and they crank it out into an almost progressive rock oriented jam as they add layers of sound and levels of intensity to the mix. While this doesn't have the same type of energy as the two openers, it's one of my favorite numbers on show here.
You Won't Make a Fool Out of Me
We're back into the frantic territory with this fast paced Irish stomper. It's a cool song but almost seems a bit too rushed in some ways. I like it, but I'd say it doesn't hold up as well as the opening three tracks.
Lightning Storm
In some ways this doesn't vary a lot from the track that preceded it. Still, it's more effective and I like the ending segment where they drop it to balladic territory a lot.
Punch Drunk Girnning Soul
More stripped down and a bit raw (at least in the opening section), this is another fast paced jam. It has some elements that remind me a bit of Camper Van Beethoven as they fill in the arrangement. They move it out to a more straightforward rock sound as they carry forward. This turns a bit towards prog rock at times, but we also get more of those Camper leanings. It's quite an intriguing piece of music. They throw in a downright metallic segment to close it out. A distant soundbite serves as the actual ending to the piece.
Us Of Lesser Gods
This has a much more traditional, acoustic Celtic motif. The opening section is balladic and rather gentle. As they power up from there it still maintains its main musical themes and soundscapes, but just gets a bit more involved in its production. This gets quite powerful at times.
Between a Man and A Woman
This one comes in with a hard rocking, nearly punk rock feel to it. As the Celtic instrumentation and textures join we get something closer to the sounds of the rest of the album. This is an energetic track that works as well as anything else here. I wouldn't really consider it a standout, though. Of course, that has more to do with the music that surrounds it than any weakness in this piece.
On the Back of a Broken Dream
Here we get a fast paced, traditional sounding jam that almost feels like a polka at times. Of course, there is a common thread through most of the ethnic music in the world. This is bouncy and fun, but not really one of my favorites. The slower bridge is a nice touch.
Man with No Country
A pounding punk rock styled bass guitar line leads things off here. They use it as a springboard for a killer fast paced jam that's amongst the highlights of the disc. This is one of the two or three best cuts on show here. It's fast and powerful. The hard rock guitar solo and the arrangement on sections of this calls to mind a 1970's hard rock arrangement.
The Story So Far
This is a slower moving ballad. It's got one of the catchier textures in terms of a mainstream sound of anything on show here. It's also the one place on the disc where they seem to be a bit trite. It's not a bad song, but not great either. It's definitely the wrong choice for an album closer and the only misstep on the set.
 
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