We’re often not impressed with bands billed as “the future of rock” but we can make an exception for Fontaines DC. This new album is special; so good it had us singing – SINGING – to one track about three plays through. That literally never happens.
It only seems 10 minutes since their debut album, Dogrel, which was pretty near perfect, an entertaining, rolling, shambolic and intelligent debut; the band formed over a love of poetry. This new one is even better and sees the band evolve the sound into something slicker, and while some tracks hark back to the first album, nothing is really as urgent and DIY as Dogrel opener Big or as Clash-y as Sha Sha Sha.
Big saw singer Grian Chatten promising he was gonna be big but this new one opens with him telling listeners I Don’t Belong. Like Big, I Don’t Belong starts with kick drum snare and bass but it’s about a quarter as fast and smoother, perhaps paraphrasing the point made by a band with whom comparisons could be made, “whatever people say I am, I’m not”. The sneering tone and jagged guitar is still there but it’s got more groove and snarls less.
Love Is The Main Thing has vocals from a cool Chicago dance tune, just with frantic drums. There are earworms aplenty on the album and the first great one is Televised Mind. A Lucid Dream and the excellent title track are more like the debut but the hallmark sound is perhaps songs like Living In America, which has a solid percussion but slips into a solid, hypnotic groove, as do some of the later tracks, especially closer No.
You can make comparisons with everyone from Velvet Underground to PiL but Fontaines DC sound like Fontaines DC. All the praise is fully deserved.