Fontaines D.C. are a quintessential element of the british post punk resurgence. Having developed a reputation for their simple, driving grooves, and weighty, wise lyrics, the Dublin rock band set themselves apart from their contemporaries. Anticipation peaks for their third LP, 'Skinty Fia'. The next Social and Welfare Officer at The Mic, Cat Jordan, gives her thoughts on the new record.
Fontaines D.C. are back, and after gripping listeners with their first few singles, this album doesn’t disappoint. Sombre yet startling, Skinty Fia offers listeners an interesting listen that feels extremely cohesive and intelligently-crafted. Far less rock ‘n’ roll than Dogrel (with a couple of exceptions), this album resembles a more mature version of Fontaines D.C., and although at moments teetering on the edge of being slightly too dreary, this more experimental side of the band suits them well. Instrumental sections are pleasant and add to the ethereal (even cinematic) journey nicely, and as usual, the poetic style of songwriting suits them well.
Looking at the cover of the album, a deer looks extremely out of place in a apartment. It’s interesting to note that the deer is an (extinct) Irish one, so it serves as an excellent metaphor for the band’s uncomfortable feelings toward their recent move to London, a theme to which the album dives deeper. This is reinforced with titular track Skinty Fia - an Irish curse that translates to ‘the damnation of the deer’. Before even pressing play on the album you should have a pretty clear indication of what themes might emerge, but it’s not just typical feelings of homesickness that the group are facing. The album expresses on multiple occasions the discrimination that the Irish face from the Brits, and by doing so gives Fontaines an interesting (yet upsetting) perspective to share with their listeners.
"Comparing this album with the last, Jackie Down the Line serves as the best bridge between the two, resembling their earlier work while at the same time feeling more evolved. The guitars, which switch between electric and acoustic, are absolutely beautiful to listen to..."
The album opens with ár gCroíthe go deo (Which translates as "In our hearts forever"). This lyric is repeated from the outset, the harmony eerily resembling a choral chant. In a Rolling stone interview, frontman Grian Chatten explains that the song is inspired by the fact that just two years ago, an Irish woman’s family living in London were told they were not allowed to put this popular phrase on her tombstone, as it was deemed too political because it was written in Irish. It’s a bold start to the album, and was for sure the best choice to open with. It does a great job of setting the sombre tone for the rest of the album, as well as highlighting the importance of the band’s Irish roots, one of the most poignant themes of the record.
Other than the epic opening track, other highlights Jackie Down the Line and Closing track Nabokov. The former was an excellent choice for the leading single, with probably the most catchy chorus and a more upbeat sound - perhaps deceptively so, it’s paired with more of Chatten’s much-loved, self-loathing lyrics. Furthermore, Comparing this album with the last, Jackie Down the Line serves as the best bridge between the two, resembling their earlier work while at the same time feeling more evolved. The guitars, which switch between electric and acoustic, are absolutely beautiful to listen to: not too complicated, but absolutely stunning.
The closing track, Nabokov, is another stand out. In Jackie Down the Line the narrator paints himself as a potential threat “I will hurt you, I’ll desert you, I’m one Jackeen of a line”, “Jackeen” being a derogatory term for people from Dublin given to them by the other Irish after they Greeted the queen with Union jacks. Nabokov offers listeners a chance to see a far more submissive side: “I’ll be your dog in the corner, I will light your cigarette”. Musically, this track sees Fontaines D.C. pulling strongly from the post-punk genre, and after an album that sees the band venture a lot further outside of the box than into the past, it’s a great way to wrap things up.
All in all, Fontaines D.C. have put out a great album- it’s an interesting listen and their lyrical talent shines through yet again. Although possibly a bit too sombre for me to listen to on repeat this summer, most of the tracks will be featuring on my various playlists, and I’m looking forward to enjoying it even more to wallow in my state of dwelling when the days become long and gloomy again.
Edited by: Elliot Fox
In article images courtesy of Fontaines D.C. via Facebook. Video courtesy of Fontaines D.C. via YouTube.
You can read the Rolling Stone interview here.