ALBUM REVIEW: Fontaines D.C. – Dogrel (Partisan Records)
This debut album by the labelmates of last year’s big thing Idles was one of the most eagerly-awaited of 2019.
The last few months have seen the Dublin indie-rock five-piece become one of the most-talked-about new bands around, with a real sense of anticipation surrounding this release.
A string of tracks were released to radio, earning plenty of airplay on the likes of 6Music, which meant the album felt a little over-familiar on first listen.
But it’s already on many critics’ album of the year shortlists, and it’s easy to see why.
Grian Chatten’s rich Irish brogue and slightly off-key delivery is reminiscent of vintage era The Pogues, while the use of repetition echoes post-punk heroes like The Fall, Joy Division and PiL.
Opening track Big is a short, sharp introduction to what Fontaines D.C. are all about, while the radio-friendly Too Real is one of their big songs as Chatten asks “is it too real for yaaa?”
That use of repetition is employed on one of the standout tracks, Hurricane Laughter, which was released as a single last year, while the languid Roy’s Tune shows a more melodic side to the band, and The Lotts sounds like Boy/October-era U2.
Liberty Belle and Boys In The Better Land move the album towards its wonderful closing track Dublin City Sky, where Chatten sounds like Shane MacGowan at his poetic best as he takes us on a journey around the grey, rainswept city which inspires so much of his writing.
Although it took a few listens to shrug off the feeling of overfamiliarity, I can’t wait to see what they come up with next.
For now, let’s enjoy an album which is certainly one of the best I’ve heard this year, and will surely come to be regarded as a classic. 8/10.