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24.11.04

Flogging Molly
Within a Mile of Home



Hide all the Guiness, Flogging Molly are here and ready to brawl, with the release of Within a Mile of Home. But don't wait for MTV's trial run of the band; they haven't heard of them either.

The seven pack of holy madness manages to fuse Irish folk and punk music together, a novel concept fellow punk band Dropkick Murphys tried out. FM sounds more like the Pogues, a traditional folk music band, than punk. The band happily plays any traditional instrument they find laying around, whether it's a banjo, fiddle, or even a washboard.

Flogging Molly got together around 1997 in an Irish pub in Los Angeles called Molly Malone's as the Dave King Band, named after the group's founder/lead singer. The Dave King Band earned their current name for playing so much at Molly's, they almost "flogged" it to death.

The band's known for touring like hell, as they prefer being a live band, preferably playing clubs, although sometimes doing festivals like the Warped Tour. Yet they managed to release the aforementioned Swagger, along with 2002's Drunken Lullabies, before the new album.

The new album hits close to home for Flogging Molly, by its many odes to King's beloved Irish roots, yet still carrying that coveted power of their live performances. First track "Screaming at the Wailing Wall" nods at American politics (I'll liberate your people's fate/Spoke the Burnin' Bush). "Factory Girls," a duet with country starlet Lucinda Williams, and "Tobacco Island" are riddled with Celtic historia, telling tales of King Richard and the Barbados plantations.

Several tracks involve vivid retellings of Ireland's political atmosphere, including "To Youth (My Sweet Roisin Dubh)" and "Queen Anne's Revenge," a track sung by bassist Nathen Maxwell. A pirate shanty, "The Seven Deadly Sins," pays tribute to the late Joe Strummer, as does "Don't Let Me Die Still Wondering" to Johnny Cash.

A majority songs carry a lot of ambiguousness to the non-Irish ear. Take "Factory Girls" again, where the idea of a factory girl itself carries several meanings. To some it means a shift we took away from the pastoral way of life into an industrialized era. Frank McGuinness wrote a play called "Factory Girls" in 1982.

Guiness, eh? Who knows what inspires Flogging Molly at times. But one thing is quite clear; with these beautifully somber songs and cunningly-cloaked analogies, Within a Mile of Home is nothing short of a lucky charm.
Crystal at 11/24/2004 01:39:00 PM

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