Every once in a while a band comes along who create a buzz without having dropped a record. The Yeah Yeah Yeahs, The Killers and The Strokes had developed followings before any major releases, mainly thanks to their live shows and exposure through early reviews. What followed were the releases of acclaimed debuts that are still as good today as they were when they first came out.
2019 sees the turn of FONTAINES D.C., the Dublin post-punkers who had the likes of NME foaming at the mouth after just a few single releases. Even before the release of their debut Dogrel, FONTAINES D.C. were picked up by IDLES to be whisked away as support on their North American tour. Exciting times no doubt, and surely an exciting album on the way.
When it did finally land, Dogrel did what it was supposed to do; back up the claims and notions of the band’s early adorers. From “Big” to “Dublin City Sky”, FONTAINES D.C. take us on an rollercoaster punk ride. The ferociousness of “Too Real” highlights the strengths of the band. The track isn’t dependent on Chatten taking control; instead it’s the scraping guitar that gives it that “holy shit” sound. Tracks such as “Hurricane Laughter” and “Chequeless Reckless” drive on the punk sound running like a cheetah through this record, but it isn’t all about speed. “The Lotts” for example cools the pace but brings with it one of the more composed riffs on the record. It’s an involving track, one that pays homage to a bar in Dublin where the band once called home.
One thing I’d pick on in this record is the repetition. There’s quite a lot of space filled with repeated lyrics (“Roy’s Tune”, “Big”,) that I think could have been used better to carry on stories. I understand repeated lyrics in some cases come down to reiteration of a certain point (“Killing In The Name”), but much of it here is an annoyance.
All in all though, I love this record and I think it’s safe to say 99% of people who have heard it will say the same. It’s great to see the Irish rock scene doing so well and we’ve bands like FONATINES D.C, Girl Band and Just Mustard to thank for that. In their hands, the future of our rock scene should be safely secured.
Photo Credit: Pitchfork