As I walk through Manchester city centre gazing up at the cranes building new skyscrapers all around, with Fontaines D.C. in my headphones, the lyrical content of the album makes perfect sense. Although cities have to change, it’s important not to lose the culture and unique characters which made the place great originally, and that’s one of the main themes of vocalist Grian Chatten, as he blasts through lyrics dealing with Dublin’s lost souls. “Dublin in the rain is mine, a loose ambassador for all that crime” he sings on opener ‘Big’, which could almost be a love song to the city itself, ably backed by a ferocious wall of punked up energy, the kind you haven’t heard since the days of early Arctic Monkeys.

It’s not all about fast paced guitar anthem though, as what sets Fontaines D.C. apart, and why they’re fast becoming the favourite band of indie kids around the globe, is that they have a subtlety about them too, as songs like ‘Television Screen’ testify ,with its almost New Order-esque basslines and guitar melodies which gently circle around each other, and ‘Roy’s Tune’ with Chatten reminiscing “I was a cool cool kid of the curbstone scene, and the lights in my eyes were evergreen”, set against a gentle paced melody.  That subtlety combined with firecrackers like ‘Chequeless Reckless’ with its fuzzed up guitars and mantra of “money is the sandpit of the soul”, and tunes like ‘Liberty Belle’, with its equally rocket fuelled melodic beauty is the genius of Fontaines D.C. ‘Boys In The Betterland’ recalls the Libertines at their most infectious, with the beautifully dulcet Dublin accent of Chatten powering it along singing “and the radio’s all about a runaway model with a face like sin and a heart like a James Joyce novel”, while the guitars of Conor Curley, Carlos O’Connell and bass of Conor Deegan III combine with the powerful drums of Tom Coll to create one of the best guitar tunes of the year, yes it really is that good!

There’s not been a band like Fontaines D.C. for an eternity, managing to combine fired up melodic guitars tunes and clever wordplay with such finesse. A startlingly refreshing debut.

Fontaines D.C. – Dogrel: Out 12th April 2019 (Partisan Records)

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From the early days of creating handmade zines, in a DIY paper and glue style, interviewing bands around town, then pestering Piccadilly Records to sell them, to writing for various independent mags such as Chimp and Ablaze, writing about the music I love is still a great passion. After testing the music industry waters in London with stints at various labels, being back in my hometown again, writing about this city’s vibrant music scene is as exciting as ever. All time favourite bands include Sonic Youth, Nick Cave, Patti Smith although anything from electro to folk via blues and pysch rock will also do nicely too. A great album, is simply a great album, regardless of whatever musical cage you put it in.