A magnificent third album which serves as the crowning point of a career that is, excitingly, still in its infancy For a band that formed just five years ago, Fontaines DC have proved to be surprisingly prolific. Skinty Fia is their third album in three years, and you’d be forgiven for presuming that, by now, they may be sounding a bit tired. Instead, it seems as if their work ethic has re-energised the Irish quintet.
In the years that have passed since the Dublin five-piece unleashed their debut Dogrel into the world, a lot has changed. Most for the worst and some for the better - Fontaines seem to consistently fall into that latter category. Few bands can not only entice but thrill with three albums of repetitive phrases and looping thundering basslines; focused on hypnotising all onlookers with a syrupy-thick potion of dagger words, cutting guitars and mesmerising drums.
the killing of a sacred deer
The title of Fontaines D. C. 's latest album, Skinty Fia, carries two meanings: a colloquial substitute for an Irish curse drummer Tom Coll's aunt often said, and a phrase that roughly translates to 'the damnation of the deer', an allusion to the extinct giant Irish elk which appears on the cover.
Fontaines D.C. seemed to hit top speed on their debut album, before they just kept on accelerating. 2020's fine follow up 'A Hero's Death' found the Dublin band broadening and deepening their sound, reflecting the emerging confidence of their live shows. Largely kept off the road by the pandemic, the group opted to plough ahead, writing new material and experimenting with producer and long-time confidante Dan Carey.
Fontaines D.C's previous two albums have both been tethered to their Irish identity, unable to look beyond what the eye can see, or the heart can feel. Their lightning bolt 2019 debut Dogrel took a Joycean delight in their hometown of Dublin, setting singer and lyricist Grian Chatten's wide-eyed poetic tales to potent, infectious post-punk. Its successor, the Grammy-nominated A Hero's Death (2020), was an inversion, enriching the displacement of tour-induced disorientation with increased musical depth.