Los Angeles-based Flogging Molly aren't the first Celtic punk band. The Pogues were, back in the 1980s. But since the U.K. pioneers of the genre broke up in 1996, no one has done it better. Longtime Pogues fans hardly had a chance to bemoan the breakup before Dublin-born singer/songwriter Dave King and Flogging arrived on the scene in 1997. Five albums and one EP later, their combo of Irish folk and aggressive rock still sounds gritty and genuine. An L.A. punk band as much as anything else, Flogging Molly likes to get the guitar distortion revving along with the fast-churning, cow-punk drumbeats, as evidenced on "Laura" from 2006's Whiskey on a Sunday. But the group also showed the maturity apropos of a decade-old band, when, on the very next track, it went unplugged. With its everyday instrumentation of acoustic guitar, banjo, bodhran, spoons, accordion, concertina, fiddle, tin whistle, uilleann bagpipes, mandolin... uh, you get the picture, this group isn't exactly at a loss when it's time to go acoustic. Unfortunately, most of Whiskey showcases the band in a "power saver" mode. Thankfully, the interplay of all these instruments, talents, voices, and anthems, especially in live performance, generates an electrical force that's much more powerful on stage. Andrés Solar
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