Album Reviews: Within a Mile of Home (LP) by Flogging MollySorrow is sometimes best expressed through celebration. An Irish funeral is a testament to this, and so is the music of Dave King and his band Flogging Molly. On Within a Mile of Home, the band perfects their hybrid sound, combining the energy and propulsion of SoCal punk with the mournful confessionals of Irish balladry. King ruminates on the tragic history and triumphant spirit of his native Ireland (“Tobacco Island,” “With a Wonder and a Wild Desire”) and also offers fond memories of men who have passed on, from his own father to Johnny Cash and Joe Strummer. Meanwhile, the band cranks out pit-friendly, fist-pumping bursts of punk rock, with violins and accordions swirling underneath.
The drawback, of course, is that the formula is somewhat confining. Just past the middle of Within a Mile of Home, the songs begin to sound likeable but repetitive, threatening the momentum. Flogging Molly recovers and finishes strong, but they never quite match the riveting front end, which features the disc’s best traditional ballad (“Whistles The Wind”), an agitated anti-war piece (“Screaming at the Wailing Wall”) and a lively, folksy duet with Lucinda Williams (“Factory Girls”). - Adam McKibbin
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