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Fontaines D.C. Made in Ireland

By Marc Zisman |

With their impressive third album "Skinty Fia", the Dublin quintet confirms their status as a major contemporary rock band. A real slap in the face!

Their first two albums - 2019's Dogrel and 2020's A Hero's Death - firmly established them on the throne of contemporary rock. Skinty Fia tightens the crown on Fontaines D.C.'s head a little.

At first sight, this third album doesn't really change the quintet's DNA, anchored in a literate post-punk and carried by the charismatic Grian Chatten's recognizable voice. A pandemic has certainly passed by, but the Dubliners keep hammering the same phrases, spinning the same bass lines over and over again and invoking inner malaise, troubled relationships and questioning the Irish identity. It is this relentlessness that Fontaines D.C. holds dear that is as fascinating as ever. The hypnosis is constant. Finally, the big change is carried by Chatten, who is larger than life. The words he chants, the lyrics he vomits, the verbs he kneads, all this unique literature, this vitriolic poetry that grips the guts, help the young band to cut the cord with its beloved elders (The Fall, Joy Division, Gang Of Four, Public Image Ltd.) to better impose their singularity...

Now a Londoner, Grian Chatten already has the blues of his native Dublin. A precocious nostalgia that mixes with the immutable Ireland/England antagonism that he sings from the opening In ár gCroíthe go deo. The story of an Irish granny exiled to Coventry whose last wish, to have 'In ár gCroíthe go deo' (In our hearts forever) engraved on her grave in Gaelic, is refused by the Anglican church! On the chilling The Couple Across The Way, Chatten simply leans his voice against a minimalist accordion to evoke the wear and tear of the couple. With Nabokov (another literary reference!), he displays an almost hardcore radicalism. It's all this violent emotional torrent inherited from the folk of the ancients but viscerally rock in the ears that makes Skinty Fia a masterpiece.

In 2019, Qobuz met Fontaines D.C. on the occasion of the release of Dogrel, their first Qobuzissime album. An interview to remember this iconic entry to the music world, as well as a One Cover One Word to talk about influences and inspirations. Catch-up session: