One of my favorite Irish infused, punk rock bands the Street Dogs dropped yet another release over the summer titled State of Grace. Fronted by the one time lead vocalist of the infamous Dropkick Murphys, this CD delivers powerful punk rock anthems fueled with a traditional Irish feel to it. This is the band’s fourth release and their first under Hellcat Records.
Lead singer Mike McColgan is one of the most American punk rockers you will ever meet. Before fronting the Dropkick Murphys, he served time overseas during the Gulf War to help pay for school. When he returned, he helped start the Dropkick Murphys in 1996 and released Do or Die; it was the only album he released with the band. In 1998 he left the Dropkick Murphys to pursue his dream of becoming a fireman. Fast forward a couple of years later to 2002 and McColgan got the music fever again and started the Street Dogs.
On their fourth full length release the five-some sounds stronger than ever. Album opener “Mean Fist” is impressive with a full on punk rock approach start to finish. “Into The Valley” sounded like an anti-war group marching song insuring escalating spirits for all soldiers involved in this senseless war.
Other stand out songs are “Rebel Song” with McColgan signing his heart out about standing up in a poor nation to rise above. The song reassures the underprivileged that they should continue to do what they do and unite. “The General’s Boombox” continued the high spirit lyrics about staying true to yourself.
“Elizabeth” reminds me of an Irish pub song that everyone in the house could sing-a-long to. Another sing-a-long track “Two Angry Kids” would be best listened to away from the bar as the song makes you want to dance wildly around and pump your fists in the air.
“San Patricios” is by far my favorite track. The Irish meets Mexican song is insane. I loved the Spanish singing and guitar riffs layered with punk rock. The Irish/Mexican unity track recalls back to the times when the Irish teamed with the Mexicans for their fight against the US to save Mexico.
If you are looking for a band that has similarities of the Dropkick Murphys keep in mind that even though McColgan was the original lead vocalist that the Street Dogs take a different approach at Irish punk rock with less bagpipe playing and alcohol inspired tracks. From political views to the love of family and friends this CD was amazing especially the third time I listened to it.
The first listen was an introduction but by the third listen I was hooked. This is one of the better punk rock albums that has been released in 2008. Street Dogs exist because of the love of music for an Irish gent straight out of Boston. If you are looking for punk rock at its finest go out and grab a copy of State of Grace.