Flogging Molly: Speed of Darkness

Flogging Molly
Speed of Darkness
(Borstal Beat)
Rating: ★★★☆☆

It’s difficult to look at photographs of the now-ravaged Detroit and remember that Motor City was once an oasis for industry – not to mention soul music — in the U.S. Flogging Molly, the 7-piece band that swirls spitfire punk tones with Celtic soul to create its own fusion sound, has recorded 12 songs that spotlight the energy, spirit, and proud tradition that bubble just under the city’s decay.

Although the songs on Speed Of Darkness have a heavy theme, this fifth album by the band is anything but sorrowful. Instead it focuses on the American worker as something akin to David overcoming Goliath. The songs move from the punk filled “Revolution,” told from the point of view of an unemployed worker done in by the system, to the almost lullaby gentle “So Sail On,” honoring those that came before.

The entire creed is summed up in the album’s last track “Rise Up,” a high-spirited manifesto – complete with violins and throbbing, passionate vocals – that urge workers to “Rise Up,” stand and be counted, and take back the city. “We shall overcome,” sing Flogging Molly. One listen to the rallying cry of Speed of Darkness, and it’s easy to believe that may well be true.