Dublin band Fontaines D.C. have just released their new album called Skinty Fia via Partisan Records on April 22nd, Earth Day. Plant a tree and buy this record. You’ll do something good for the planet and yourself.
I’ve heard that Fontaines D.C. is a post-punk band. To this day I still have no idea what that means. Is it any punk like band that comes after the original wave of Punk? If that’s the case then every single band that came in the wake of The Clash, Ramones, and Sex Pistols are all post-punk. You can try to explain this to me, but I don’t care. Fontaines D.C are a punk band, and from here on I will refer to them such as.
While we’re still on the subject of punk let’s clear something up. Three bands just mentioned all sound incredibly different from each other, and that is the whole idea of punk.
I understand that there are many people out there who think that all punk band either sound like The Ramones, or should, but that is not the case. In fact, if you go back the original punk scene in NYC at CBGB’S, all of those band sounded completely different from each other and were all considered punk. Blondie did not sound like Talking Heads. Talking Heads did not sound like Television. Television did not sound like Patti Smith etc.
For some reason during the ninety’s bands used the sonic template of The Ramones and just started to imitate their sound. Not every band, but a lot of them. What you got was this crazy influx of pop punk band that took over after the grunge thing fizzled out, and there was a void that needed to be filled.
What we got instead was a number of bands with no imagination that had singer sounding like young boys that just hit puberty, all wearing shorts and Vans sneakers. Boring.
Meanwhile they were a number a of bands that took different roads and had a sound that was truly theirs and were still punk. S.T.U.N., Offspring, Idlewild, Refused, The Lee Harvey Oswald Band, and Supersuckers. All who sound different from each.
Now we have a new group of punk bands doing their own thing and not rehashing what came before them. Idles, The Murder Capitol, and Viagra Boys come to mind, and so do Fontaines D.C.
The new record Skinty Fia (which is apparently an old Irish curse phase) is a completely diverse and annoying record, and I mean that in a good way.
“In ár gCroíthe go deo” kicks thing off in a haunting manner and a vocal sneer like Johnny Rotten, but not a bad imitation of him. Things stay atmospheric with filled “Big Shot” with western like guitar riffs, while Grian Chatten, vocals, goes on about how everyone gets a, gets a big shot baby/Everybody gets a big shot lately. Perhaps about how anyone with a iPhone can be a star, or think they are, in minutes?
The band maintains the steady stream with “How Cold Love Is”. This is a declaration of love being cold, not a question. While the band does not go balls to the walls with noise and power its song ring true every single time. Punk rock does not have to travel at warp speed to get the message across. Sometimes the most urgent conversations carry more weight speaking at conversational tones instead of shouting at someone. It could also be more menacing.
Just when you think the band can’t go any slower, halfway through “Bloomsday” pops up. The song uses more of the swampy spaghetti like guitar interplay that gives it a different feel then most punk bands out there. The lyrics are ominous could be about the fears of getting older, or the rapid pace that we seem to be headed with a crash course to doomsday, “Oh to be young, once more/I know all the lines lived it all before/Well you were at thе gate, soaked through/Nevеr said a word that wasn’t true.”
The band sounds its most commercial and Brit-Pop Oasis like with “Roman Holiday.” Then the record turn its most uncommercial with “The Couple Across The Way” is nearly four minutes of accordion and vocal accompaniment. Annoying in a good way, like George Harrison and his sitar sings. The song appears to be about a couple that has either lost their way in the world, or the world has passed them by.
“The world has changed beyond our doorstep/Peoplе talk and dress so strange/I don’t know a neighbour’s namе/And all of life is rearranged.”
As the record draws to a close F.D.C. sings what seemingly starts at their most romantic notion with “I Love You”, but at the 2:03 mark the songs gets dark, jaded, and cynical, and I’d have it no other way. If you something predictable, sugary, and avoiding all the trappings of the real world, well, there’s plenty of that out there really easy to find. I think F.D.C.’s point is that even in real bad times, we can still find love. That’s real. That’s the real world we live in. Acknowledging love, hoping top find it, but also realizing that it’s not always pretty, easy, and there are bad things going on outside of your fours walls all the time.
This record is a wake up call to everybody that lives with their head in the sand.
Carlos O’Connell (guitar), Conor Curley (guitar), Conor Deegan III (bass), and Tom Coll (drums), are the band that is holding things together while Chatten spits out his words of optimism and doom equally. In this day and age of people waiting on line for ten hours to sing song in front of judges that lost their relevance eons ago, just to be told they did not make the cut, it’s nice to know and hear a band that is real.
Real heart, soul, emotion, and yeah, at times real annoying. This is punk rock at its finest. Punk is about a feeling. An attitude. Not about a style of music, but about the freedom to be able to rally against the injustices that we see happening day to day. It’s about the freedom to be yourself and not conform to what the powers that be, whomever they are, want you to fall in line like mindless sheep. Fontaines D.C. is one of those bands, and Skinty Fía is one of those records.
Forget about all that post punk nonsense and rage for your own sake, as if your life depending on it. It probably does.
Article: Carmine Basilicata