Fontaines D.C. deliver an increasingly gothic and introspective sophomore album.
Often being heralded as an overnight success is quite alarming. Poetic Irish punks Fontaines D.C. shot to international stardom in the wake of their 2019 debut LP, Dogrel, and between the relentless touring and personal strain it created, they crafted the 11 songs that form their follow up, A Hero’s Death.
Previously-released single, ‘I Don’t Belong’, is a bold way to begin the album, trading Dogrel’s folk tales and snarling post-punk for an atmospheric gothic caricature looking inwards. In terms of the mood they’ve created, they stick to it so well that it’s almost day and night in contrast to their debut.
They don’t seem like a band who will ever step backwards and purposefully lean commercially despite some of the earworms on Dogrel. Yet, a beautiful pop melody always attracts wandering eyes, and on A Hero’s Death, many of the tracks are clouded in a haze of angst, pain and poetry, ready to strip back your skin until nothing but muscle is showing.
On the stand-out post-punk rambler, ‘A Lucid Dream’, the guitars come with so much blood and grit you’re placed front and centre, mere inches away from their heaving amplifiers. ‘You Said’ toys with guitars that could be ripped from an early Interpol B-side, and bar room stomper, ‘Living In America’, tiptoes the line between beauty and cacophony.
It’s hard to say at this point whether A Hero’s Death will be known as their masterpiece or the odd one out. This record is that cool older cousin dressed in black, with shaggy dark hair and eyeliner. Yet, it’s not trying hard to be that. You are a product of your environment, and so are Fontaines D.C.
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