The Warrior's Code
Dropkick Murphy’s fifth studio album comes out swinging and punching right from the opening notes of “Your Spirit’s Alive,” a tune the band penned for their friend Greg “Chickenman” Riley, who was killed in a 2004 motorcycle accident. The song is a ferocious number that’s as spirited as the title suggests, pulling influences from old-school English punk, some workingman’s steel-toed Oi! and a hint of Celtic folk. Aside from Big Country’s 1983 namesake hit, the title-track here makes the best use of a bagpipe in a non-Scottish folk song. “The Warrior’s Code” rocks and rolls under reedy drones as Al Barr’s graveled voice sings and howls praise for “Irish” Micky Ward, a retired junior welterweight professional boxer whom the album is dedicated to. Another standout is “Captain Kelly’s Kitchen,” an anthemic fist-pumper that makes Dropkick Murphys sound like the bastard punk sons of the Pogues with hyper tempos rolling and pounding under accordion, fiddle, bagpipes and mandolin as Barr injects lyrics from the 1914 classic Irish canticle "Too-Ra-Loo-Ra-Loo-Ral (That's an Irish Lullaby)." A raunchy reworking of Boston Red Sox rally song “Tessie” closes with drunken aplomb.