Fontaines DC: A Hero’s Death review – sneer all you like


The Dublin band’s follow-up to their outstanding debut album brings an urgent, sardonic energy to familiar post-punk sounds

Fontaines DC insist that A Hero’s Death is not merely “part two” to their phenomenal debut album, Dogrel (2019) and that the band “don’t belong to anyone” (I Don’t Belong, the opening track). But many of Fontaines’ key traits remain: the ability of this young Dublin outfit to retread familiar post-punk ground but with a tensile urgency all their own; and the sardonic Irish tones of Grian Chatten, whose affected blankness speaks volumes.

Dublin city plays less of a starring role on A Hero’s Death than it did on Dogrel, although the band’s roots endure – witness the nod on the cover art to the Celtic warrior Cúchulainn. The title track plays on the idea of cliche, and the frontman as seer. Chatten reels off repetitive truisms, seemingly with a sneer, yet sincerity is never out of the question. The band back him up with playful “ba-ba-ba” harmonies, in tribute to US touring and California recording sessions.

Elsewhere, the tracklisting takes in galvanic moshpit anthems – Televised Mind or I Was Not Born, with its refusenik Velvet Underground pummelling – and more nuanced songs. The album’s closer, No, approaches mainstream balladeering, even as it analyses the downsides of sensitivity with eloquence.

Watch the official video for A Hero’s Death


Kitty Empire

The GuardianTramp

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