Fontaines DC’s restless spirit inspires formidable “Skinty Fia”

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DC fountainsthe third album of Lean fia opens with an elegy. Against mournful choral harmonies, frontman Grian Chatten sings “Gone is the day, gone is the night”, with a single, single-note bassline as accompaniment. The drums eventually kick in with an almost jungle-inspired beat and things really take off. Add atmospheric guitar sheets and Chatten’s vocals, which become more plaintive and unbalanced as the song goes on, and this album is off to a great start.

These choral harmonies sing part of the title of the opening song, “In ár gCroíthe go deo”, an Irish phrase that translates to “In Our Hearts Forever”. According to Chatten, it was a phrase that a family wanted to put on the headstone of their mother who had emigrated from Ireland to Coventry, England, but the Church of England decided that, at the risk of it being considered as a political message, they do not allow the Irish language to exist on an Irishman’s headstone.

This strikes at the thematic heart of the album. When the band started, their hometown was so intrinsic to their image, their sound, their everything, that they put their name to it (DC = “Dublin City”). Time since release The death of a hero, however, all band members left Dublin for London. Mixed feelings about leaving town, coupled with their experiences of being Irish outside of Ireland, fueled Lean fia, another Irish expression – a swear word – which they learned via drummer Tom Coll’s grandmother. “I think the phrase probably originally refers to the extinction of the giant Irish deer and there’s this inevitability to the damnation of that deer, that’s what we’re trying to get across,” Chatten said. . Vice. “It connotes the idea or image of the boys in Pinocchio. That sort of mixed-race thing: what it’s like to be Irish in London. The album cover, a striking photo of a deer inside a house, underlines the feeling of being somewhere you don’t belong.

Even if you’re not aware of the specific lyrical genesis of Lean fia, the discomfort is palpable. The screaming punk rippers who embodied their early days, Dogrelgave way to dark, textured guitars closer to early 80s postpunk (The Sound, The Chameleons) filtered through late 90s British alt-rock and dance music, with thick bass lines and increasingly adventurous drumming, creating music that is both expansive and claustrophobic.

Likewise, Chatten’s vocal style has become more nuanced and musical, while still retaining a moody edge – he just feels more internalized now instead of shouting at the masses. Chatten’s delivery is melodious even on buzzy songs like Lean fiaThe hypnotic title track from, with words flowing from his tongue in a steady stream, a crackle that’s as much a rhythm instrument as anything else. On songs like the obsessive “I Love You” and “How Cold Love Is,” you can almost hear his characters spinning in circles, pleading for someone who isn’t there, chanting “And if there was sun – it was never on me.”

‘Skinty Fia’ is the album that comes closest to dance music – in a Primal Scream XTRMNTR sort of a path – and is also up for best song on the album. With its driving bassline, industrial tinkle, razorwire guitar splinters and Chatten’s impressive vocals, it’s like Happy Mondays covered by Tricky and dying to be remixed (maybe Soulwax can try like they did with “A Hero’s Death”). The album is at its best on rhythmically prominent tracks: the syncopated two-chord groove of ‘Jackie Down the Line’, the dreamy, nostalgic journey through London’s nightlife of ‘Roman Holiday’ and the bubbling, ominous and dubby “Big hat.”

Lean fia also breaks the tradition of their first two albums by ending things not with a tender ballad but the loudest and loudest song on the record. He finds the song’s common thread, whether it’s Chatten about a character he created, at his most vulnerable and pathetic, plagued by a messy relationship. “I’ll be your dog around / I’ll light your cigarette” he shouts as a maelstrom of guitars twirls around like storm clouds. And although they are a group known for their love of Ireland’s many famous poets, they are named after a Russian author, ‘Nabokov’. Chatten and the rest of Fontaines DC may still be struggling with a sense of identity, but their restless spirit and desire not to do the same thing twice serves them well thus far.

To pick up Lean fia on limited edition translucent red vinyl it’s exclusive to our shop.

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