Best Albums

Fontaines DC – A Hero’s Death – Album Review

Fontaines DC – A Hero’s Death – Album Review
by Killian Laher

In a year of eagerly anticipated follow up albums, perhaps this one from Fontaines DC tops the lot.  The impact Dogrel made is such that the lyrics seeped into casual conversation, certainly round these parts anyway.  The band certainly received a lot of critical acclaim, but were a long way off being overplayed.  This follow up arrives barely a year on from the original.  Worryingly, the band mentioned in at least one interview that this album bears the influence of bloated 60’s dinosaurs The Beach Boys.  However, what transpires is an album which has a more troubled feel to it than the debut.  Opening track I Don’t Belong takes its cue from the moodier side of Fontaines DC, as previously heard on The Lotts, from their previous album.  It’s one of their strongest tracks, but by placing this one first it indicates murkier waters than 15 months ago.  Despite the nervous energy of tracks like Love Is The Main Thing, lead singer Chatten spends much of the time sounding pretty downbeat.

The band are well capable of generating a racket and there’s plenty of the punky, energetic rock that they made their name with.  Televised Mind, featuring a towering bassline from Conor Deegan, kicks out considerable jams, while A Hero’s Death riffs on the phrase “life ain’t always empty”.  On this Chatten goes all impressionistic as he moves the emphasis to a different word each time he recites the line.  Many of the songs feature Grian Chatten repeating lines over and over, having a kind of mantra effect.  Living In America and A Lucid Dream sound built for the mosh pit, though the latter lacks the singalong quality of some of their older songs.  The mid-paced strum You Said is one of their most melodic, featuring great guitar work.  While still edgy and by no means laidback, it could be a hint as to where the band goes next.  Those who enjoyed the balladry of Dublin City Sky on Dogrel will certainly embrace the moody delights of Oh Such A Spring.

For those who enjoy the Fontaines DC in their more carefree moments, I Was Not Born harks back to those more innocent days.  Sunny has a lovely, lazy guitar line in the vein of Roy’s Tune.  The track is just lovely, perhaps the bababa backing vocals are the only possible trace of Beach Boys’ influence.  They finish on an introspective note with No, a bit like U2 at their most stripped down.

It’s such a relief to hear that success hasn’t dulled the band’s edge at all.  This album is a more thoughtful beast than their debut, sure, but it’s easily the equal of Dogrel, and may prove to have more staying power.

Track List:
1. I Don’t Belong
2. Love Is The Main Thing
3. Televised Mind
4. A Lucid Dream
5. You Said
6. Oh Such a Spring
7. A Hero’s Death
8. Living In American
9. I Was Not Born
10. Sunny
11. No

I Don’t Belong 


Categories: Best Albums, Header, Music

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