Wednesday 6 May 2020

Fontaines D.C - A Hero's Death

When your first album achieved critical acclaim and a fair degree of commercial success, taking you in a year from playing pubs to Brixton Academy it’s bound to do weird things to your head. There are so many ingredients that are conducive to poor mental well being; from exhaustion through relentless touring and promotion to the false sense of self that can be obtained from the ego boosting positioning on a pedestal. This stuff can be even harder when you’re young and have little experience or the confidence to take a step back and say no. Musicians are just people, just like the rest of us. They're not special when it comes to inner strength.

So when Fontaines D.C, the band that produced my favourite album of 2019, announced that they were cancelling a number of festival slots last summer due to health issues you couldn’t help but be concerned. Was this another group of young men who were about to be torn apart mentally and / or physically by an industry that still seems to push those who are successful to the limits?

Thankfully it seems that Fontaines D.C. survived and yesterday evening saw the band return with not only a new song but details of their second album, delivered in an impressively quick turnaround from their first. This is clearly no Stone Roses Second Coming or the like.

The title of the song and album are A Hero’s Death which reflects lead singer Grian Chatten’s need to write something to alleviate the fear that he would never be able to follow up Dogrel, the band’s first record.

Produced with Dan Carey in his London studio the song doesn’t deviate from what we already know of Fontaines D.C, with lots of repetition in both the vocals and guitars. And is there a slight resemblance to Last Night by The Strokes in those guitars? I think so. Having already hinted in earlier interviews at a Beach Boys influence it’s also no big surprise to hear some ‘ba ba bas’ thrown into the arrangement as well.

It’s a solid and safe start for the band but it’s probably not wise at this stage to second guess the new album with references to influences such as Broadcast, Lee Hazlewood and Beach House being thrown around. The fact that the band have got to this stage so quickly is on its own to be applauded, let's just hope that during this campaign they and those around them look after themselves. Perhaps the current lockdown measures might actually help?

Fontaines DC - A Hero's Death

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