COLUMN: New Fontaines D.C. release is their best yet


Ryan Meyer

Ryan Meyer, Columnist

Last week Fontaines D.C. blessed us with a record better than I ever could have expected.

“Skinty Fia,” the band’s third album, is another addition to a discography that shows a band getting exponentially better with each release. Sonically, it’s their darkest record to date, as the guitars reach shoegaze-amount levels of fuzz and the lead riffs are better than ever.

The band even sneaks great guitar riffs into songs, like the title track, a strangely danceable, almost industrial, mid-tempo rumble.

“How Cold Love Is,” another danceable piece, is part of the sextet of fantastic songs that open the record. It’s one of the strongest first halves in post-punk history that I can think of.

That first half includes “Big Shot,” one of the most shoegaze-adjacent songs on the record, and also my favorite. The lead guitar riff in this one is so beautifully simple, dripping in effects and leading into a delicate chord progression for the second verse.

Because it’s a great record, the second half also holds up. “The Couple Across The Way” sees Fontaines D.C. at their most sentimental since “No,” while “I Love You” is perhaps the most raging song in their discography, displaying frontman Grian Chatten’s versatility as a vocalist.

The best thing about this band musically is their discovery of the perfectly happy medium between melody and abrasiveness. They embrace the distortion and grit that comes with their brand of music, but never fail to tuck touching chord progressions or melancholy riffs behind the walls of noise.

There was a lot of emphasis during the album campaign for “A Hero’s Death,” Fontaines D.C.’s second record, on the influence they were taking from the Beach Boys, and it showed in some of their harmonies.

For “Skinty Fia,” the influence can’t really be traced back to any specific artist. I appreciate this because it makes the album uniquely theirs, but I also lament it because it doesn’t easily lead me to another band I can check out.

Although “Skinty Fia” is the group’s best record, by no means does that imply their previous releases are weak. Their debut, “Dogrel,” is packed with great songs and “A Hero’s Death” was nominated for a Grammy. If someone put all three records on a graph, not only would they be trending upwards, but they’d start at the top.

I think Fontaines D.C. are alone at the top of modern rock music. Their music is endlessly interesting, they’ve developed eons with each release and they’re prolific, just to top it off. “Skinty Fia” is their third record since 2019, all while squeezing tours in between releases.

It’s too early to even be pondering the next release, but I can’t help but daydream about future releases by this band. If you look at the data, it’s likely they’re going to continue to top themselves.

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