The Irish band’s album Dogrel was released in April, 2019. Reviewed by DJ Ramblin’ Rose, Sacha Fleming
“Dublin in the rain is mine / A pregnant city with a catholic mind” are the first lyrics of the song “Big”. If Mark E Smith and Ari Up had a child, their kid would be Grian Chatten of Fontaines D.C. Straight out of college in Dublin, Fontaines D.C. released their debut album Dogrel earlier this year in April. While I was studying abroad this summer in Ireland at the University of Limerick, all I heard were Irish students raving about this band. Now, Dublin often gets a bad reputation down in Limerick for being too posh or too English so it’s interesting that a band that challenges the policies of the Catholic Church happens to be one of the most popular bands. I was completely amazed listening to Dogrel. It sounded like something old and controversial just like all the punk legends I grew up listening to. But it was much more than pissed off youth rebellion.
It wasn’t math rock or glam, in fact it’s full frontal obnoxious. This album is something I’ve been craving for a long time; it’s a modern album that’s not synthesized and perfect. Mixed with working-class Irish poetry, history and bell-heavy vocals, it’s the devil’s spawn of rock. Dogrel delivers early days of punk rock, elements of Oasis’s Britpop and a brash choppy sound contemporary rock desperately needs. Too many bands right now sound like robot copies or sad boys who think they’re on another planet. “Dublin City Sky” is a song that brings so many memories back of traveling to bars and seeing musicians performing on every block. It’s a closing Irish drinking tune, a night of laughter, hopping on a double decker bus and, of course, eating a bag of Supermacs chips. Pitchfork calls it a “built-in, encore-closing, arena-filling sing-along in the finest off-kilter folk tradition.” It channels Shane McGowan, a musician I heavily adore.
In its native form, Post Punk is style of rock music inspired by punk but less aggressive in performance and musically more experimental. Fontaines D.C. takes a different approach to this genre. “Too Real” for example, starts off with an irritated rumble of drums, spouting off-poetic lyrics. It paints Dublin as a cold, dark place. The City in its final dress. The song is definitely a love/hate relationship with their hometown. The perfect expression of rock n roll and the best I’ve heard in years. It’s such a joy to witness these five lads winning awards in Europe. “Sha Sha Sha” another song from the album is sentimental yet, ambitious. With sweet tambourine riffs, “Oirish” references and constant iteration, no wonder why they’re the most popular band in Ireland right now. You just want to root for the dirty underdogs, for a firecracker album ready to explode. This is the sound of the future and with a new decade approaching, I’m excited about what 2020 will bring.
Reviewer Sacha Fleming is an FM DJ known as Ramblin’ Rose on the air. Her show “The Ramblin’ Rose Show” will return to 88.7FM and wnfp.org for its final semester in late Winter-Spring of 2020.
Sacha discovered Fontaines D.C. while studying in Ireland this past summer. She’s “been a fan since!” Tune into her show next semester to hear about her travels and to discover more bands like this one!
Check out Fontaines D.C. on Spotify here: https://open.spotify.com/artist/3SXwqSqAoBz9WCI9PDQzY6?si=m4QHKi_SQce9rXspjNaBLg