Words: Lauren Dehollogne
A year after Fontaines D.C.’s dynamic and critical acclaimed debut album ‘Dogrel’, the quartet is ready to shock their ever-growing fanbase with their follow-up LP ‘A Hero’s Death’. The Irish band has rooted their second album in post punk culture more than ever. Monotone singing and the cynicism experienced throughout this changing time are felt throughout the album whether it is because of the lyrics or the tone of the tracks.
‘I Don’t Belong’, the opening song of ‘A Hero’s Death’, couldn’t be more different than the opening track of their debut ‘Big’. Instead of loud and amazingly, brashy confidence they have gone for a more angst ridden, quiet toned version of what spooks around in their heads. Despite them being one of the bands that are coined to be the future of the Dublin scene, Fontaines didn’t have what should’ve been a triumphant year. Their upcoming album feels like a response to how ‘Dogrel’ changed their lives and how they were distancing themselves from the past as well as the band.
Songs like ‘Living in America’ and ‘Televised Mind’ prove that they are not the same Fontaines D.C. that the world got to know last year. The album features less energetic “post-punk bangers” but it still includes the intellectual references we have grown to identify with Fontaines whether it’s a James Joyce poem or a narcissistic reflection of life. The band recognised “that this album is going to kill some people’s idea of the band”, but they wouldn’t be true to themselves if they didn’t push it further for them as well as their fans.
It seems like ages ago since the band graduated from BIMM Dublin, leaving that part of their story behind and finding their own voice in the process. The most heartfelt track on the album is ‘I Was Not Born’, which feeds off the cynicism and downright critical outlook on life and the capitalistic vulture scheme that talks about how they are “not doing another man’s bidding”. The sarcasm is apparent throughout the entire sophomore album and the title track ‘A Hero’s Death’ is the best example of this: “That’s what happens to mantras when you test them over and over”.
Although Fontaines D.C. have now gone into a completely different direction, they have stayed true to themselves and that’s what translates back into the album. It’s not as catchy and play-on-a-loop as ‘Dogrel’ was but maybe that is why the integrity in ‘A Hero’s Death’ is more palpable than ever before. You might need to lend a bit more time and conscious capacity to it, but it is yet again a wonderful effort of the Dublin band.