It would be a bold statement to compare any band to music legends such as The Jesus and Mary Chain, Sonic Youth or The Cure, but let me say this – I think Fontaines D.C. are one of the most exciting bands to form in a long time.
In 2017, while studying music in Dublin, Carlos O’Connell, Conor Curley, Conor Deegan, Grian Chatten, and Tom Coll quickly bonded over a love of poetry and together, soon began turning that common interest into music.
After they started gigging as simply ‘Fontaines’, they quickly learnt of another band with that name and so added the D.C (Dublin City).
The band signed to Partisan Records and their debut album Dogrel was released in April 2019 to much critical acclaim, earning them a nomination for a Mercury Prize, a Choice Music Prize and many more titles rarely held by such a young band.
Their second studio album, A Hero’s Death, was just released in July 2020 to just as much praise from fans.
I love a band who sing in their own accents, and their roots and common interest in poetry which brought the boys together certainly sets this band apart from the rest for their intelligent lyrics – something which seems to be underestimated today but reminds me strongly of the origins of Joy Division and Ian Curtis’ attitudes to love and loss in ‘70s working-class Manchester. I recently took a trip to Dublin and stayed not far from where singer Grian Chatten had grown up. The similarities I recognised between Dublin and Manchester in terms of the people’s music culture and pride for their city became very clear to see – evidently, this dynamic has produced many great bands in both these areas.
Being stuck inside during the recent pandemic has been difficult for a lot of bands, and cancelling the tour of their new album was never going to be easy. But it seems that the band have been busier than ever, releasing a fantastic cover of Darklands, directing their own music video for their recent release and most interesting of all, creating Spotify playlists comprised of their many influences which I’ve not been able to stop listening to.
With a wide taste in music, bringing together the best of rock, punk, indie and more, it’s easy to see where the inspiration for their own great songs have come from, and the genius of bands from before their time is certainly reflected in their music today.
These boys flying the flag for Dublin have seemingly captured the attention of an audience not only their own age, but the generation that came before them too – the ones who grew up seeing those great bands, and who are now reliving their 20’s. It’s the first time in a long time I’ve seen gigs where my own friends, the ‘younger’ generation are standing alongside people their parents’ age. That’s exactly what truly good music should do.
It’s incredibly refreshing to see a band drawing so heavily on the influence of much older bands, but doing so in their own very unique way. I’d go so far as to say that If these boys had been around in the ’90s, they might now have the same legendary status as some of the bands they look up to, and there’s absolutely no reason why they couldn’t still put themselves up there.
I’ve already seen how far these guys have come over the last year since I first heard them on the radio, and I’m excited to see where they go next. In a lot of ways, it feels like watching one of my favourite 80’s rock bands form before my very eyes.
The next time you see them playing near you, I strongly advise you to get out there, there are not many people I can safely say will go down in music history, but Fontaines D.C. will be one you’ll be telling your grandkids about.
Their new album ‘A Hero’s Death’ is available now.