The Warrior’s Code
Elevating themselves above the drunken testosterone-driven pub sing-a-longs they’ve become synonymous with for over a decade, on The Warrior’s Code Dropkick Murphys reach a level of maturity that most did not see coming.
Breaking from the usual Boston-bred explosions of rowdy Irish punk, they slow things way down to cover a somber Scottish song about the death of a soldier, “The Green Fields of France.” This song fits in with two others to form a quiet trilogy of war protest. On “Last Letter Home,” they lay their heart bare, using actual words from a fan stationed in Iraq who wrote home to his wife revealing his dying wish that the Dropkicks play “The Fields of Athenry” on bagpipes at his foreseeable funeral. This turned out to be the fallen fan’s last letter home before being killed. The band not only wrote this song about the man, but fulfilled his dying wish and performed at the funeral.
Finally, in the most overtly political Jello Biafra-inspired rant, they criticize the US government for its corruption and trickery tactics regarding military recruiting on the brilliantly defiant, “Citizen C.I.A.” The lyrics are so brilliant that I must include them in their entirety:
“…Calling all Americans of above-average intelligence…College graduates, apply today…
Come decimate dictatorships and overthrow regimes in exotic far-off places, the vacation of your dreams. You’ll assemble puppet governments and play the hand of God. We’re an equal-opportunity crime fighting squad
Citizen C.I.A Citizen C.I.A
Now I’ve trained an army for my kids to fight one day. We’ll teach them all our secrets and then we’ll walk away. We’re knee deep in guerillas, yeah the party never stops. United States of America undercover cop!
Five weeks paid vacation and a 401K
They said I’d be workin’ with Sydney, man this sucks!”
Alongside the politics, this record has straight DKM moments (“Captain Kelly’s Kitchen,” “Wicked Sensitive Crew”), an unusually pop-sounding song (“Sunshine Highway”), a Woody Guthrie cover (“I’m Shipping Up to Boston”) and the Red Sox victory song (“Tessie”).
Although the band has matured, they have not lost their ability to drink you under the table or to throw St. Patrick’s Day parties that would make their ancestors on the Emerald Isle proud!
Dropkick Murphys: www.dropkickmurphys.com