‘Skinty Fia’ is the newest record from Dublin Post Punk band Fontaines D.C. It’s their third album in four years after splashing onto the scene with their Mercury Prize nominated ‘Dogrel’, an album that was adored by fans and critics alike and firmly cemented them as one of the most exciting bands in the UK. 2020 saw them releasing their follow up album ‘A Hero’s Death’, an album that saw them going for a more delicate and sombre style whilst still having be extremely well received by the public.
‘Skinty Fia’ yet again sees the band moulding their sound further with less of an explosive punk feel to the tracks and more of a refined and measured sound overall.
The album opens with the track ‘In ár gCroíthe go deo’, a song that starts with a throbbing bassline that’s backed with angelic vocals. The track is greeted by front man Grian Chatten through the opening lyrics of “Gone is the day, gone is the night” being repeated softly. The track adds intensity through the repeated smack of the tambourine and skittish drumming who’s staccato, unpredictable snare hits further add a sense of unpredictability and disorientation to the groove. The song middles between a feeling of beauty and unease, a combination of sounds that are explored further throughout the rest of the album.
As the album continues, the listener reaches lead single ‘Jackie Down The Line’. It’s a song that’s anthemic chorus resembles some of the biggest UK bands of the 90s and is truly one of the best rock songs of the year. The track is instantly memorable without having the more aggressive post punk sound seen on earlier hits from the band showing how effortlessly and successfully they have been able to tweak and change their sound whilst still being able to create absolute anthems.
‘Roman Holiday’ is a hazy post-punk banger that reeks of swagger. The opening lyrics of “Baby come on, get stoned, get stoned” alongside the smooth, driving guitar and frolicking drums match together perfectly.
The title track opens like a moody, psychedelic dance song. It sounds somewhere between The Stone Roses and The Chemical Brothers. Grian’s signature deep, dark delivery works brilliantly backed with the rumbling bassline and breakbeat-esque drums. Towards the end of the track, Grian starts to open his voice up more which really moves the energy and intensity of the track forward up to its somewhat abrupt ending.
“I Love You’ was the second single to be released from the album and is the best track on the album. It’s a perfect reflection of the sound Fontaines D.C have created on ‘Skinty Fia’. In its five-minute runtime the song manages to range between sounding gloomy, beautiful, passionate, and unsettling. The brooding bassline is complimented by the gorgeous lyrics of “I love you, I told you I do. It’s all I’ve ever felt”. The song evolves into a crescendo with thudding, rising drums and shouted vocals. Lyrics such as “Every young man wants to die” sound even more emotional with the instrumentation backing it.
Closer ‘Nabokov’ closes the record in an epic style. The song erupts from the very start and doesn’t slowdown from there. It’s a dark song that reeks of heartbreak and despair through the raw lyrics of “I’ll be your dog in the corner, I will light your cigarette”. It’s a fantastic way to close the album.
‘Skinty Fia’ is not only a fantastic record and one of the best to come out this year so far but is another great addition to their growing discography. It’s an album that will only get better from repeated listens.
Words: Harry Hodgson