The Gang's All Here
The cover depicts soldiers racing to battle and military planes soaring overhead. A snare drum
cadence launches "Roll Call," a gang vocal introduction to the album's first track. Songs such
as the title track and a remake of the Irish folk tune "The Fighting 69th" further illuminate
the war- minded theme at the heart of the Dropkick Murphys' latest slab of Oi- infested, Irish-
Why war? Because, metaphorically speaking, it so effectively represents the essence of the
band. "Rally together," the first words insist. It's hard to escape the unifying energy the
Dropkick Murphys consistently send. The charms of the catchy sing- along choruses are enough
to compel the most reticent of fans to break out in passionate accompaniment. "Blood and
Whiskey" may be about one man, but it's that man's "brave and daring brutal soul" that is the
cause for celebration. "Pipebomb on Lansdowne" may be tongue- in- cheek, but it reveals an
enemy-– in this case, trendy club- hoppers whose vain pursuits rarely stem beyond vinyl pants
and designer drugs.
The cause for war is clear: there must be a united front against those who block the path of
the common man. Nowhere is this spirit as effectively captured as it is in "10 Years of
Service," a tale of woe told by union workers who struggle for a standard of living that
"doesn't exist in 1999." The feeling is one of bitterness, but not without hope. New singer
Al Barr uses his raspy delivery to poignantly render the anguish of these undervalued workers.
Traditional instruments such as bagpipes and fiddle add a unique flavor to the band's sound
while also denoting a sense of loyalty and respect towards the Irish people. The production
offered by Rancid's Lars Frederiksen guarantees the Murphys' call to arms will be heard in the
best of capacities: the sound is clear and pronounced, and impressively captures the communal
spirit of all the band's work. On The Gang's All Here, the Dropkick Murphys win another
battle for themselves and seem promisingly poised for any struggles the future may bring.