A step in a new direction

For about 10 years now, Flogging Molly has used their attitudes as well as their roots to create a breed of hybrid music that encompasses Irish folk music as well as textbook punk guitar work in creating the perfect collection of pub songs. On their newest release, Float, it seems evident that the boys have regressed into a more intellectual attitude, rather than their traditional fast-paced drinking anthems and “oi” songs that gave them their reputation.
Three and a half years in the making, Float is the follow-up release to their 2004 Within a Mile From Home, in which Flogging Molly showed no signs of change, as it was full of head-bobbing, fiddle and mandolin driven punk. The majority of the material on Float relies heavily on vocalist Dave King’s lyrics, which show that the punk influence is slightly depleting.

What separated Flogging Molly from the other new-age Irish punk bands, such as Dropkick Murphys, The Bloody Irish Boys, and The Swingin’ Utters, is their heavy influence of traditional folk music, in which they incorporate accordion, fiddle, mandolin, and pan flute into almost all of their songs. All of this was well-shaped with chugging bass, chord-ridden guitar work, and fast drumming.

Songs like “Requiem for a Dying Soul” and “Paddy’s Lament” prove the boys haven’t completely abandoned their previous sound, as both songs can easily be a glass-raising classic. The remainder of the album seems to touch more on a man coming back to Ireland after a long time and the history of the country. Dave King, after leaving the country when he was 17, was exiled from his homeland of Ireland, as he lived illegally in the United States, and the album’s lyrical aspect seems to focus mainly on that.

Most fans may not even notice the change. Anyone who has seen Flogging Molly live knows that they are all about having fun, and are full of energy, but a good handful of the songs on this album don’t seem to be ones that will get the crowd jumping around and singing along like Swagger’s “Salty Dog” or Drunken Lullaby’s “Black Friday Rule.”

Float is certainly a personal milestone for Flogging Molly, and old fans of the band will enjoy the new songs, but it’s questionable whether it will attract new fans like Swagger did when it fell into the hot little hands of people who had just discovered an interesting Irish band.