It’s a shame I didn’t arrive earlier to see Shame’s show in Camden in November last year, but catching the end of support act Fontaines D.C.’s set was enough to have me hooked. The repetition of ‘Hurricane Laughter’s high-octane riff as frontman Grian Chatten shouts “there is no connection available!” is as addictive as it is memorable. Yet they have so much more to offer than the post-punk-meets-rock-and-roll sound that initially drew me in.
Months later I came across ‘Big’. This short burst of brilliance immediately grabbed my attention, leaving me craving more of the band’s unique character. Tied into their unique fusion of sounds — from Joy Division to The Rolling Stones, The Cure to The Clash, and everything in between — is Chatten’s poetic conception of Dublin, a city he loves. It brings together this potentially disparate amalgamation of influences, allowing for consistency throughout the amazingly diverse range of sounds that feature on their recently released incredible debut album, Dogrel.
Fonatines D.C. are loud, fast-paced, and energising. They’re also slow and melancholic, when they want to be.
It would be disingenuous for me to talk in depth about the theme of Dublin that runs throughout all of Fontaines D.C.’s songs, however. I’ve (regrettably) never been, and this isn’t what immediately captured me. I could talk about the band’s attachment to place, sure: there’s something beautiful about being nostalgic about places that you love, and I for one can relate to this poetic fondness for a city. But the raw sound of Fontaines D.C. is all it took to draw me in, the theme of Dublin only adding to that.
Fonatines D.C. are loud, fast-paced, and energising. They’re also slow and melancholic, when they want to be. ‘The Lotts’ takes a heavily Cure-influenced bassline and creates a slightly slower number when compared to some of their other tracks. Similarly, in ‘Television Screens’, sounds of The Smiths contribute to a more melodic track than the fast-paced punk of anthems like ‘Big’, adding a huge amount of variety to their impressive debut album. Watching their Glastonbury set on iPlayer, however, the band makes every song part of a high-energy, fast-paced gig — the energy the band puts into their live shows is phenomenal.
It’s early days for Fontaines D.C. (originally Fontaines, until they discovered another band under the same name). Already they’ve played at Glastonbury, supported Shame and IDLES on tour, and created an album with the sort of lyrical content that most bands “take years to reach”. So far it’s looking like Chatten’s right — they’re gonna be big.