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Album review: Flogging Molly's 'Speed of Darkness'

May 31, 2011 |  6:30 am

Flogging-molly Dave King formed this Celtic-inspired punk band here in L.A., but for the last several years the frontman and his wife, violinist Bridget Regan, have lived in her hometown of Detroit. You can hear their experience in that recession-ravaged city reflected on “Speed of Darkness,” which charts with unsparing detail the ongoing meltdown of the American dream. “I’ll scrimp and I’ll save at this pension I’ve saved / It should be gone by the end of the day,” King growls over a midtempo stomp in “The Power’s Out.” It’s the rare hard-rock song with room in the lyrics for a phrase like “this pending foreclosure and mountains of debt.”

Yet if King maintains a tight focus for much of Flogging Molly’s fifth studio album, his bandmates (on guitar and drums, as well as tin whistle and Uilleann pipes) employ broader strokes, pushing the music toward arena-rousing Bruce Springsteen territory. They come closest to that ideal in “Revolution,” a fuzzed-out hard-luck tale that King narrates from the perspective of a “working man without any work.” As he ponders the sudden end to a 27-year factory career, the rest of Flogging Molly lives up to its name.

Flogging Molly
“Speed of Darkness”
(Borstal Beat)
Two and a 1/2 stars (Out of four stars)

-- Mikael Wood