A rapturous set at Glastonbury just the other day would imply that Fontaines D.C. have, for all intents and purposes, hit the big time. This is for all the right reasons. The Dublin-born five-piece evoke early Joy Division and The Fall – although I’m sure these kinds of platitudes have already numbed your ears before. What Fontaines D.C. are imbued with that others struggle to grasp is complete creative flair, a driven sound pretty much arrogant in its execution, and a frontman who has something brand new to say on behalf of Angry Young Men. Fontaines D.C. were embraced by the Glastonbury masses for their failure to comply with expectation. Now, Sam Fender (whose set Fontaines snapped up at the last minute) is genuinely Quite Good, but those who might once have hacked a nun’s arm off to catch a glimpse of the Tyneside titan will probably be quite grateful they caught Fontaines D.C. instead.
Their debut album Dogrel is a seething punk frenzy, variously prone to searing melodic beauty ('Television Screens', 'Roy’s Tune') or Ray Bans-sunglasses cool ('Too Real', 'Boys in the Better Land'). Grian Chatten’s unique delivery cuts through every song, and his lyrical penmanship might be unrivalled in 2019.
“You're a cluster of nothing, you are a beauty for the sake
How dare you go about living as a relic from a dream
As the sky shutters down on the antiquated scene
On the room full of mirrors, on the television screen…”
These are harsh, cutting vignettes about real life – a specific life or lives, those belonging to none other than Fontaines D.C.. They are motivational speeches. They are political addresses, except for the first time you buy into every syllable. Try to be anything other than super-stoked that the Glastonbury masses have latched on to something stemming from the working-class, from the everyday – from the truth. Pretence and posture have been refused at the door. In these fraught times of social perplexion, Fontaines D.C. have leapt onto the soap box and said it how they see it. They are the Dangerous Other. The exhilarating new It. Miss them at your own peril.