When I first heard the title of the album when the news was released, I thought perhaps this was their last hurrah. Hopefully it's not because the fire is still there although I thought they had jumped the shark with "Blackout" when they apparently attempted to cross over into the Hot Topic genre of punk rock visibility. This is definitely not their best album and the old Al Barr vs. Mike McColgan debate will probably continue on for years, but this is still a solid outing.
The title track is up first and it's definitely one of those you want to play at your wake, or at least when you ponder how you're gonna go out. The video doesn't disappoint although it does remind me a lot of their video for "Walk Away" except with a regular funeral instead of a penis funeral (wedding). 3 out 5 pints is what I'm going to rate it.
"Hardest Mile" reminded me of "The Gauntlet" from the album "Gang's All Here" for the first few seconds and it's also a solid, solid track. 3.5 out of 5 pints.
"Cruel" is the obligatory 3rd track, the one you have to play slower to give your crowd a chance to catch their breath and get another pint. Reminds me of "Forever". It's ok but nothing special. 2 out of 5 pints.
"Memorial Day" is "These Two Boots of Mine" from Al's old band, The Bruisers just rewritten and with female vocals added in. Still better than the majority of music out there but I was disappointed overall. 1.5 out of 5 pints.
"Climbing a Chair to Bed" is not bad at all even though it's haunted by notes of Shane MacGowan. 3.5 out of 5 pints.
"Broken Hymns" starts with a little banjo and becomes one of the best tracks I've heard in quite some time. I'm a sucker for soaring, orchestral-like pieces once in awhile, this one got my heart. 4.5 out of 5 pints.
"Deeds Not Words"...Anything that starts off sounding like "Cadence to Arms" and involves bagpipes on through the song will get me to listen over and over. This is the song you want to listen to during a barroom brawl. 3.5 out of 5 pints, half of one of those pints was spilled while punching a hipster douchebag in the face.
"Take 'Em Down" is a token shout-out to union politics that falls flat on it's face like that college kid who thinks he can drink with the punks and skinheads but passes out after just a few rounds.1 pint out of 5 and I'm being really fucking generous with that one.
"Sunday Hardcore Matinee" is a rollicking piece that doesn't reach it's full potential but still decent. Take it or leave it. 2.5 out of 5 pints.
"1953" is another attempt to duplicate "Forever" and it's ok. This is one you sing arm in arm while drunk as hell. 3 out 5 pints if you're buying another round.
"Peg O' My Heart" is if you took a generic top 40 song, Irished it up a little bit and then let a punk band sing it. Pfffffffft. 1 out of 5 but I'd still rather listen to this than the Top 40 alternative.
Hey, it's still better than "Blackout" but I'm hoping that the album title is not prophetic and this isn't their swan song because I'd hate to remember them this way. It's still worth the $9.99 on Itunes that you have left over.