COLUMN: High expectations for third Fontaines D.C. record


Ryan Meyer

Ryan Meyer, Columnist

The band that had my favorite record of 2020, Fontaines D.C., just announced the upcoming release of their third record, “Skinty Fia,” the record that will likely be my favorite of 2022.

They’ve shared one song, “Jackie Down The Line,” that continues their string of fantastic singles. The entrance of Carlos O’Connell’s staccato strumming is the highlight of the song, but Grian Chatten continues to develop as an engaging vocalist.

The album has high standards to live up to, following in the footsteps of their debut “Dogrel” and follow-up “A Hero’s Death,” both of which contribute immensely to the post-punk and brooding guitar music revival of the second half of the 2010s.

Some of their more noise-oriented tunes like “A Lucid Dream” miss for me, but it’s more than made up for in the beauty of songs like “No” and “Sunny,” or the throbbing post-punk of “The Lotts” or “I Don’t Belong.”

Speaking of such beauty, I hope “Skinty Fia” continues to add to that side of the band’s discography because the aforementioned songs from “A Hero’s Death” add a dimension that perfectly balances the often roiling post-punk. If it does so, it deserves to be as well-heralded as its predecessors, both of which received scores of eight or above out of ten.

I’m also wondering if there will be for-now-unforeseen development in Fontaines D.C.’s style, as there was with some of the songs on “A Hero’s Death,” like their embrace of the influence of the Beach Boys. It’d be interesting to see if there is a new influence that isn’t immediately detectable upon first listen.

Maybe it will come in the form of more acoustic or piano-driven songs, as glimpsed in the YouTube video “A Night at Montrose, Dublin Director’s Cut (Full Performance),” or the alternate version of “A Lucid Dream” called “A Lucid Dreamer” that features a Cure-like coalition of piano and guitar to create a chaotic soundscape that rises above the original version. The music video for “Jackie Down the Line” also sees guitarist Conor Curley playing an acoustic guitar, so who knows? The mystique absolutely comes through in stripped-down sets like the band’s Take Away version of “I Don’t Belong.”

The skills of Fontaines D.C. lie in their versatility and ability to captivate the listener, be it through a shout-along chorus or a gentle synth hidden in “Oh Such a Spring.”

I’ve written about Fontaines D.C. before, and if “Skinty Fia” is what I expect it to be, I imagine I’ll be writing about them again.

Ryan Meyer is a senior journalism major. He can be reached at 581-2812 or at [email protected].