Monday, April 14, 2008

Flogging Molly - Float CD Review

There’s definitely something to be said for consistency. From Swagger to Drunken Lullabies to Within a Mile of Home all the way up to their latest, Float, Flogging Molly have been undeniably consistent. Each album shows the band taking their Irish pub crawling punk rock into more and more refined territory. Whereas many bands try to expand outside of their comfort zone, Flogging Molly stay contently within theirs, sharpening their well established sound. At times, however, there can tend to be a feeling of rehashing what’s already been done more so than creating something new.

The band was, arguably, at their best on their sophomore effort, Drunken Lullabies, where their fusion of punk rock and Celtic influences was most balanced. Within a Mile of Home saw the band dialing back the punk in favor of more folk influenced drinking rock. It was still a strong effort, but it felt like something was lost in the mix. On Float we see the band, again, playing their unique brand of Celtic folk punk, but much like on Within a Mile of Home the edge isn’t there any more.

It would be an outright lie to say that this is a sub-par release, because it is far from being so, but for as catchy and heartfelt as this album is, longtime fans will feel like there could have been so much more. Most noticeable upon initial spins is the sheer lack of a standout track. Whereas past albums had anthems such as “Drunken Lullabies”, “The Likes of You Again”, and “Tomorrow Comes a Day Too Soon”, Float has… a bunch of songs that are decent. The closest thing to an anthem on Float is the mid-tempo, late night, drunk ride home, sing-a-long “Punch Drunk Grinning Soul”. The opener, “Requiem for a Dying Song”, is also another strong song, but it just doesn’t stick in your head like it should.

Let’s be honest, though. This is still a CD that you should own if you enjoy music written from the heart and the bottom of a pint glass. There may be more slow songs on Float than past releases, but that’s not really all that bad. Whereas their first three releases were energetic, this one is the soundtrack to the long walk back from the pub, leaning on your friends, remembering life isn’t all that bad. “Us of Lesser Gods”, “Float”, “Between a Man and a Woman”, and, well, the majority of the album exudes a weathered, melancholic happiness, a feeling that can only come from a band that knows exactly who they are and what they are bringing to the table. There is no struggle for identity to be found here, just confidence on display for all to see.

There’s nothing new to be found on Float, but who the hell cares? It’s good. It’s been done before, by the same band nonetheless (and slightly better), but much like chocolate, you can never really get enough. While not life altering, Float is definitely life-affirming… at least in regards to helping you enjoy your life a little more.

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