Album Review: Fontaines D.C. – Dogrel

Fontaines D.C. are a marmite band. For everyone who thinks that they’re the best thing since someone took an automatic knife to a packet of Kingsmill, there’s a score of folks who just won’t like them. Those folks are wrong.

Let’s lay our cards on the table: Dogrel is THE RECORD OF THE YEAR (SO FAR) and there’s a better than evens chance that we’ll be removing the parentheses come December.

What’s incredible is that at first listen it can easily be mistaken for just another ‘noisy post-punk record with a bloke talking over the top of it’ when actually the Dublin five-piece have created something that both encompasses and builds upon the all the multi-facetted faces of indie rock that have come before it.

Let’s pluck out a few examples at random…

  • Britpop ballad – you got it (Television Screens)
  • Stonesy blues – you got it (Sha Sha Sha)
  • Smiths song – you got it (Roy’s Tune)
  • Surf rock – you got it (Liberty Belle)
  • Folk song – you got it (the incredibly perfect Dublin City Sky – like The Pogues played through a US Alternative radio filter).

There’s also a fair amount that sounds like The Libertines (Boys In The Better Land) – but don’t let that put you off. This is a record that transcends its source material to become something genuinely original. Much of the reason is the unaffected vocal style of singer Grian Chatten. While this proud use of a hometown accent means that comparisons have been made to Arctic Monkeys, a better reference point for the album as a whole is actually Stereophonics. Lest we forget, their debut and voice on their debut Word Gets Around was uniquely of South Wales, but this was quickly wiped away with subsequent releases. Let’s hope Fontaines D.C. don’t go the same way… In an age where music is as disposable as your meal deal packaging, we may have found our best hope for piecing together a new template for what indie rock will mean in the third decade of the 21st Century.

Review by Peter Richard Adams


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