What happens when you combine a mandolin, accordion, fiddle and whistle with a guitar, bass and drums? A unique sound that can only be described as a cross between traditional Irish music and punk-rock. And a band called Flogging Molly effortlessly combines the styles in an addicting mix of songs. In their latest album, “Within a Mile of Home,” their pirate-like sea chanty “Seven Deadly Sins” has a catchy melody and heavy drum feel, balanced by the fiddle and bass. Also included in the more polished album is “Light of a Fading Star,” “Queen Anne’s Desire” and “With a Wonder and a Wild Desire,” which praises the role of Irish music in Ireland’s historic struggles. Besides their 2004 album, their 2000 “Swagger” continues their pub-rock energy in party music including “Devil’s Dance Floor,” “Black Friday” and my favorite, “Salty Dog.” Even though most of their better songs are fast-paced and upbeat, the unaccompanied “Grace of God Go I” is exposed and contrasting to the rest of the album, keeping in the band’s fashion of surprises up their sleeves.
As lead vocalist Dave King explains about the importance of Irish music through hardship, you can begin to understand why it’s naturally so passionate and full of energy. “Music was all we had left. And no one could take that away from us,” explains King. “Even without vocals, if you have a tin whistle, a fiddle and a mandolin, the music still speaks volumes. It’s the lyrics that help carry that message to a new generation.”