A word of advice about West Side Stories: don't listen to it while you're driving.
The album is based on the real-life Irish-American that helped give Hell's Kitchen its name. And while the songs themselves are about some pretty rowdy characters, they're so damn soothing they'll tame any mood.
The Celtic influence is (mercifully) soft here. Instead, West Side Stories features 11 softspoken, emotionally devastating songs about love and redemption. I fully intend to take some more time with this album to better understand the stories that are woven across the album. Nevertheless, there isn't a dud on here. Each song features fully realized characters and stories with real depth. I guarantee there will be at least one line per song that jumps out and makes you think, "Damn -- I wish I was that good at anything." West Side Stories is easily my favorite album so far this year. You can stream much of the album on the Westies' site, but drop some dinero on it if you can.
The Westies -- Official, Facebook, Purchase from the Westies, iTunes, Amazon