|2022||Skinty Fia||Fontaines D.C.||★★★★½||86||Rock||Alternative Rock||Post Punk|
Four years ago, Fontaines D.C. popped into an aggressive Irish post-punk scene with a slightly more youthful, lighthearted take on the genre. Songs like “Boys In The Better Land,” “Roy’s Tune” and “Television Screens” were catchy and had softer moments that made them stand out from the more intense, loud, heavy artists in the genre.
I wouldn’t have guessed at the time that they would be the post-punk band that would take the darkest turn with their music going forward, but it makes sense considering they never were the screaming type and were more emotional than blatantly angry.
A Hero’s Death was a pretty stark contrast to Dogrel that was more mature and serious, a bit more interesting musically but also sounded repetitive, didn’t have much range and didn’t fully capture my attention. On Skinty Fia though, Fontaines D.C. really hones in on the darker sound in a fulfilling way, and all that positive growth they showed before gets amplified.
Skinty Fia’s tracks are sometimes slow and cold, and feel like you’re plodding through the muck or snow, but without it sounding sparse or isolating. “Big Shot,” “How Cold Love Is” and “Bloomsday” are often closer in character to slowcore or shoegaze than punk music, and have gorgeous instrumental builds that can be repetitive and monotonous but in a pretty beautiful, captivating way. And when moments may seem a little too melodramatic, Grian Chatten’s straightforward, even vocal performance balances it out.
The more upbeat tracks like the opener and “Jackie Down The Line” have heavy 1990s grunge-style guitar effects and drums that build in energy as they go. “Roman Holiday” is a bit more lively, with a cool opening guitar solo, some warmer chords mixed into the minor keys, and a softer outro, and the record’s title track has an industrial groove that makes it stand out.
For how slow tempted some of the songs are, especially near the beginning of the record, it’s a breezy 10 tracks and 44 minutes.