Fighting out of Dublin , Fontaines D.C. are the latest group to join the ranks of indie/post-punk purveyors taking over the European alternative scene. Their debut effort Dogrel follows a similar formula to that practised by label mates IDLES, who enjoyed widespread success and acclaim with their sophomore record Joy As An Act Of Resistance last year. However, this band are distinctly Irish, most obviously as Grian Chatten’s charismatic accent wraps around thoughtful, often poetic lyrics. The vocals sail across a dark, vivid swell of churning bass and pounding drums, which is occasionally bludgeoned with strikes of guitar anger.
The vocals sail across a dark, vivid swell of churning bass and pounding drums, which is occasionally bludgeoned with strikes of guitar anger.
Less than two minutes is more than enough time for the band to show their intent with snappy opener ‘Big’. Shouty vocals and rattling drums run throughout. Guitars are spiky. “My childhood was small, but I’m gonna be big” proclaims Chatten as the song breaks down into an industrial, feedback-stricken chorus, which abruptly ends.
‘Too Real’, a definite highlight, eases in with a moody riff, which is quickly swept aside in favour of another untameable wave of crashing guitars. A see-sawing, psychedelic motif provides the platform for the verse, which romanticises a biting, wintery city night in Dublin. It’s not hard to envisage Chatten skulking home through puddled streets, coat collar pulled high, rain dripping from the beak of a sodden cap. The band’s eloquent lyrical descriptions coupled with their brilliant rhythm creates moods that are truly impressive and absorbing. ‘Television Screens’ again showcases this. Guitar lines take each other hand in hand, weaving and leading each other like lovers through the treacherous, bleak wasteland the band create.
‘Hurricane Laughter’ is thunderous, bass driving, building to a crashing end. ‘Roy’s Tune’ is surprising, youthfully melodic and almost blissful whilst ‘The Lotts’ is jerky, and underpinned with a shimmering Unknown Pleasures-esque bassline. Live favourite ‘Boys In The Better Land’ is the toe-tapping, shoulder-shuffler of the record with an addictive chorus that makes way for a jarring guitar solo, which works to great effect. The album closes out with a proud display of the bands Celtic roots. ‘Dublin City Sky’ is a traditional, back-of-the-pub, pint of Guinness love song, twisted with a dash of the band’s sombre realism.
‘Dublin City Sky’ is a traditional, back-of-the-pub, pint of Guinness love song, twisted with a dash of the band’s sombre realism.
Dogrel is a new, welcome angle on the current European indie/post-punk scene. Fontaines D.C. aren’t attempting to follow in the footsteps of IDLES, Shame or Sleaford Mods, but they’re all the better for it. Their post-punk sentiments and Irish flair may even make them the most interesting of the bunch. A great listen from start to finish.
Image by Paul Hudson via Wikimedia Commons