Fontaines D.C.

Skinty Fia

Written by: PP on 28/03/2022 00:53:13

"Skinty Fia" is the third album by the much-hyped post-punk band Fontaines D.C. Their previous material represented a stylistic movement this scribe has loathed forever since its (re-)popularization in the past decade. It's a soundscape that's almost entirely devoid of melody in favour of a pompous, arrogant, and careless approach to vocals and instrumentation, which the mainstream media mistakes for punk as a consequence of having ignored the genre output entirely pretty much since the 70s. "A Hero's Death", much like work by like-minded monotonous peers in Idles, Savages, and, of course, the original sinners in Joy Division, was an example of the pretentiousness passed as 'music' that's popular for no comprehensible reason other than NME told me so.

Fortunately, Fontaines D.C. takes a (somewhat) different approach on "Skinty Fia". It's a darker album, drawing inspiration from the 80s darkwave/rock movement. Think bands like The Cure and The Smiths crossed with Joy Division. The immediate difference is that songs like "In Ár Gcroíthe Go Deo" or "How Cold Love Is" are surprisingly catchy, given their murky melody, rather than the purposefully monotonous vocal delivery that (still) leaves so much to be desired.

Yet you can detect an improvement even in this department. Grian Chatten's delivery used to give off a vibe where he'd like to be anywhere else than in front of the microphone, resulting in an expression that oozed contempt of its listeners. Now he does less so. He occasionally even sources from late-career Oasis-esque Britrock croons - see "Roman Holiday" or "I Love You", for instance. This approach works much better because listeners now have more meat around the bones to salivate over. It also shows that Chatten does, in fact, have pipes to be a vocalist for a rock band.

That said, "Skinty Fia" as a whole continues to suffer from an eerie sense of monotony throughout. The sameness in pitch and routine is tiring, but that's post-punk for you. At least this time around, the instruments focus less on unmelodious noise and more on real arrangements and riffs that you can latch onto as a listener. The calls that I've heard for album-of-the-year nominations for this record can be thrown right in the rubbish bin, though.


Download: How Cold Love Is, In Ár Gcroíthe Go Deo, Skinty Fia, Roman Holiday
For the fans of: Joy Division, The Cure, The Smiths, iceage
Listen: Facebook

Release date 22.04.2022
Partisan Records

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